Handwritten Tennessee Constitutions Moved To Public Display

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tennessee State Library and Archives staff will carefully move all three versions of the original handwritten Tennessee state Constitutions to the Supreme Court building on Tuesday, in preparation for a five-day public display.

The meticulously preserved documents will be removed from a vault at the State Library and Archives building and carried by hand starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday in their archival boxes next door to the Supreme Court building. A Tennessee Highway Patrol detail will provide security as the state’s most significant documents travel for their first-ever public display as a group.

The largest document – the State Constitution written in 1834 – measures approximately 2 feet by 3 feet.

This is the first time the three documents – handwritten in 1796, 1834 and 1870 – will be on display together for the public to view. The event is part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Supreme Court Building, which was dedicated in 1937. The celebration also includes the opening of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum within the Supreme Court Building with a public ceremony at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Following the period of public exhibition, the original Constitutions will be returned to a vault at the State Library and Archives and digital duplicates will be on display at the Judiciary Museum.

The museum will be open to the public with the original constitutions on display on the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to especially allow school children who can't come during the week to view the constitutions
  • Monday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Starting Tuesday, Dec. 11, the museum will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. – noon. There is no admission charge. The Supreme Court building is at 401 Seventh Ave., Nashville, 37219, at the corner of Charlotte Avenue.


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