HISTORY OF THE DOAK HOUSE MUSEUM & TUSCULUM COLLEGE
The Doak House Museum is a part of the Dept. of Museum Program and Studies of Tusculum College. Historic Tusculum College is the oldest college in the state of Tennessee, the 23rd oldest in operation in the country and the oldest co-educational college related to the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Founded in 1794, Tusculum was the first college established in Tennessee and the 28th college founded in the United States.
Tusculum traces its origins to the founding of Greeneville College by the Reverend Hezekiah Balch, a graduate of Princeton and a Presbyterian minister. The Territorial Legislature chartered the college, and its stated purpose was to provide a liberal arts education for a new generation of civic leaders on the frontier.
In 1818, Rev. Samuel Doak and his son, Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, started Tusculum Academy. Around 1830, the son built the current home on the site. By 1841, Rev. Samuel W. Doak built a new academy building, the current “Old College.” Tusculum Academy became a full College in 1844. In 1868, Greeneville College and Tusculum College merged forming Greeneville & Tusculum College. Then in 1908, the college merged with Washington College, also founded by Rev. Samuel Doak. At that time the name Greeneville was dropped resulting in Washington and Tusculum College. In 1912, the merger ended, and Tusculum College moved into the 20th century.
Doak descendants continued to live in the house on Frank Creek from 1830 to the 1970’s. In the mid- 1970’s, the house was donated to Tusculum College. At that time a local preservation group, The Greene County Heritage Trust, undertook the job of restoration with the help of a grant from the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. This restoration preserved the Doak House at Tusculum College and was accomplished under direction of the noted architect, Everette Fauber.
Currently, the Doak House Museum is operated by the Department of Museum Program and Studies at Tusculum College. 10,000 school children a year visit the Doak House Museum for the variety of educational programs and an unique experience.
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