The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library receives Award of Excellence from East Tennessee Historical Society
Efforts by the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library to commemorate the 17th president’s bicentennial in 2008 have been recognized with an “Award of Excellence” from the East Tennessee Historical Society.
The museum on the Tusculum College campus received the award for demonstrating excellence in public history programming with the work accomplished in creating and presenting “Andrew Johnson: Heritage, Legacy and Our Constitution,” in September 2008.
The presentation included an education program for the community celebrating the Bicentennial of Andrew Johnson and the 221st Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution that featured the 113th U.S. Army Band. About 900 people attended the stirring performance by the band and the telling of the story of Johnson’s rise from ordinary circumstances to the nation’s leader by Chris Small, founder of the Lincoln Project and a Lincoln reenactor.
The award also recognized the museum for hosting and coordinating a symposium held on the campus of Tusculum College, which featured four historians in a discussion of the life and accomplishments of Andrew Johnson. Speakers included Dr. Eric Foner, one of this country’s most prominent historians who is considered the leading contemporary historian of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period.
The award was presented during the East Tennessee Historical Society’s annual membership meeting on June 2. Since 1982 the East Tennessee Historical Society has recognized individuals or organizations that have made special contributions toward the preservation, promotion, and/or interpretation of the area’s history.
Celebrating 175 years of service in 2009, the East Tennessee Historical Society is widely acknowledged to be one of the most active history organizations in the state and enjoys a national reputation for excellence in programming and education.
The keynote speaker for the annual membership meeting was Walter T. Durham, the Tennessee state historian, who also has ties with Tusculum College. Durham has contributed materials for a rare book collection in the Thomas J. Garland Library named in his honor and his wife, Anna Coile Durham, is a descendant of Tusculum College’s founders, the Doaks, and briefly attended the college. Their son, Jim Durham, is a graduate of the college and serves on the Board of Trustees.
The award from the East Tennessee Historical Society is the second recognition that has been received for “Andrew Johnson: Heritage, Legacy and Our Constitution.” The event also received an “Award of Excellence” form the Tennessee Association of Museums earlier this year.
The Andrew Johnson Bicentennial was a year-long focus for the President Andrew Johnson Museum and the Doak House Museum, both operated by the Tusculum College Department of Museum Program and Studies. The Doak House Museum’s educational programming for school children focusing on the Bicentennial received a Pinnacle Award in Special Projects from the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association last month and also received an Award of Commendation from the Tennessee Association of Museums. The Doak House Museum also received a Pinnacle Award in Multimedia for its new interactive Web site.
The Doak House Museum, the 19th century home of the Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, co-founder of Tusculum College, hosted more than 10,000 school children from East Tennessee last year for a variety of educational programs related to the 19th century and CHARACTER COUNTS! The Andrew Johnson Museum, located in the oldest academic building on campus, houses a collection of books, papers and memorabilia of the 17th president of the United States. The museum also houses the Charles Coffin Collection from the original college library and the College archives containing documents related to the history of Tusculum. The museums are also two of the 10 structures on the Tusculum campus on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Department of Museum Program and Studies also offers one of the few undergraduate degree programs in museum studies in the country.