McNally chooses Oak Ridge book for exhibition at state museum

March 5, 2008

McNally chooses Oak Ridge book for exhibition at state museum

Nashville, Tenn. March 5, 2008 A special exhibition showcasing Tennessee’s unique art and cultural treasures will be held at the Tennessee State Museum this spring. A
joint project with the Tennessee General Assembly Arts Caucus, Tennessee Arts Commission, and Tennesseans for the Arts, Treasures from the Vault: Tennessee Artifacts — Legislator’s Choice, opens on March 4 in the changing galleries at the State Museum.

The exhibit’s eclectic group of treasures offers an intriguing portrait of Tennessee’s diverse heritage.  It contains artifacts from East, West, and Middle Tennessee.  Communities, large and small, rural and urban, are represented.

Senator Randy McNally is one of the featured guest curators of this exhibit.  He selected a book dated 1945, titled “Oak Ridge, Tennessee:  The Atomic City,” and filled with photographs of buildings and activities at Oak Ridge.

Senator Randy McNally had a special person help him in selecting his artifact for the exhibit.  His granddaughter Morgan McNally of Bristol chose this book about Oak Ridge.  Morgan selected this artifact “because it is where great-granddad worked.  He was a scientist who moved to Tennessee to work at Oak Ridge.”  This move was the beginning of four generations of the McNally family in Tennessee.

“It has been an exciting and educational process for the members of the Arts Caucus to work with the Tennessee State Museum and choose artifacts for this exhibit,” Arts Caucus chairman Representative Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) noted. “By involving members of the General Assembly in the planning of the exhibit, the State Museum allowed us a
unique opportunity to learn firsthand about the incredible collection that is housed at the Museum.  It also was a great honor to select what would be on display from our home districts.  The exhibit will provide an opportunity for Tennesseans who visit the Museum this spring to see important pieces normally not on public display, and the selections
made by the individual Arts Caucus members will provide insight into our varied interests.”

Objects included in the Treasures from the Vault exhibition represent the museum’s diverse collection of antiquities, art, textiles, important military objects and other genres.

“The word ‘Treasures’ is particularly meaningful to the staff here at the State Museum,” Lois Riggins-Ezzell, Executive Director of the Tennessee State Museum said. “We consider ourselves the caretakers of Tennessee’s finest collections of art, furniture, artifacts, crafts, military objects, textiles, flags . . . the list goes on. Unfortunately, due to extremely limited space, we are not able to display more than five percent of our collection at any given time. Thousands of artifacts are tucked away in storage, buried in our
vaults. From time to time, we are able to bring these items out of storage and present them to the public. Our forthcoming exhibition has given us a fresh opportunity to do just this.”

Treasures from the Vault: Tennessee Artifacts — Legislator’s Choice opens at the State Museum on March 4 and continues through March 31, 2008.

About the Tennessee General Assembly Arts Caucus: Since 2005, the state senators and representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly Arts Caucus have joined together to support arts and culture in the state.  For more information please visit:

About the Tennessee State Museum: The Tennessee State Museum currently occupies three floors in the James K. Polk Building, located at Fifth and Deaderick Streets in
downtown Nashville. The permanent interpretive exhibits begin 15,000 years ago with prehistoric humans and continue through the early 1900s with special sections on American Indians, explorers, pioneers, the Antebellum age, the Civil War, and the beginning of a new century. These exhibits include artifacts from across the state.  The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum, which is closed on Mondays, is free to the public.  For more information please visit: or call (615) 741-2692 or 1-800-407-4324.

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