Tennessee State Museum offers Black History and Women’s History programming

(top row l-r) Lorenzo Washington, Tamar Smithers (bottom row l-r) Marquita Reed and Brigette Jones.

In commemoration of Black History Month, the Tennessee State Museum (TSM) presents The Power of Story: Interpreting Black History, a free panel discussion on interpreting African American history in public spaces and museums. Panelists include Brigette Jones, curator of social history at the Tennessee State Museum; Tamar Smithers, director of education programs at the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM); Marquita Reed, collections manager at NMAAM; and local music historian Lorenzo Washington of the Jefferson Street Sound Museum (JSSM).

The Power of Story: Interpreting Black History runs Thursday, February 27, 2020 from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM in the at the TSM, 1000 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, at the northwest corner at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and at the intersection of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Jefferson Street.

This month, TSM offers a specialized tour experience that focuses on Tennessee’s African American history. The 45 minute tour will highlight the diverse culture of African Americans, while aiming to acknowledge the oppression they faced from various forces in Tennessee’s history. This free tour meets in the second floor lobby each Friday and Saturday during February at 2:00 p.m.

Next month, TSM explores the history of Women’s Suffrage in Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote, an 8,000 square-foot exhibition opening March 27, 2020, to commemorate the role of Tennesseans statewide leading to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

In August of 1920, the nation’s eyes were on Tennessee. The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote throughout the country, had passed at the federal level a year earlier, and was making its way through state legislatures for ratification. It needed 36 states to approve it, and was stalled at 35. The final vote for ratification at the State Capitol in Nashville on August 18, 1920 was historic not only in its outcome, but for its thrilling 11th-hour circumstances and the great uncertainty surrounding that outcome.

The stories of those women who represented the movement on the national stage, like Sojourner Truth in its earliest days, and Ida B. Wells later, the exhibition highlights the stories of suffragists throughout Tennessee, women like Juno Frankie Pierce of Nashville, among many others, worked to further the cause, despite much opposition.

The Tennessee State Museum, on the corner of Rosa L Parks Blvd. and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, is home to 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. Through six permanent exhibitions, the Museum takes visitors on a journey – through artifacts, films, interactive displays, events and educational programing – from the state’s geological beginnings to the present day. Additional temporary exhibitions explore significant periods and individuals in history, along with art and cultural movements.

The Museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information on exhibitions and events, please visit tnmuseum.org.