Tennessee's Original State Constitutions On Display For One Day Only

Friday, May 28, 2021

Tennessee's three original constitutions will be on display at the Tennessee State Library and Archives on Tuesday, June 1, to mark our state's 225th birthday.

In addition to viewing Tennessee's founding documents, guests can explore interactive exhibits and take a tour of the new Library and Archives building located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N. on the northeast corner of the Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville. The free Statehood Day event is from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT. Tours begin every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Reservations are not required.

"The Library and Archives' Statehood Day event is an incredible opportunity for Tennesseans to see up close these historic documents that provide the foundation for our state government," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

The Library and Archives, a division of the Department of State, is responsible for collecting and preserving books and records of historical, documentary and reference value, focusing on items related to Tennessee. Tennessee’s constitutions are the highest valued and most historically significant items in the collection.

Tennessee’s first constitution came into effect on June 1, 1796, concurrent with Tennessee's admission as the 16th state of the Union. A second version of the constitution was adopted in 1835 and provided for a state supreme court. Tennessee’s third constitution was adopted in 1870, after the Civil War, and is still in use today. Our current constitution stood unamended until 1953, which was the longest period that any such document remained in effect without amendment anywhere in the world.

“The Library and Archives strives to preserve the past and make it accessible for current and future generations,” said Chuck Sherrill, Tennessee state librarian and archivist. “We are excited to share our state’s three constitutions and our incredible new building with our guests on Statehood Day."

The Library and Archives is joining Bicentennial Mall State Park and the Tennessee State Museum for various events to celebrate Tennessee’s 225th Statehood Day.

Bicentennial Mall State Park is celebrating Statehood Day and its 25th anniversary on June 1 with a special event at 10 a.m. in the Amphitheater followed by guided tours and educational programs led by park rangers. For more information about the 25th-anniversary celebration, visit tnstateparks.info/BiMall25thAnn.

On Statehood Day, the Tennessee State Museum will offer self-guided tours and an online exhibition of their new exhibit Tennessee at 225: Highlights from the Collection, storytime and crafts for kids, a presentation by State Historian Dr. Carroll Van West, a commemorative printmaking demonstration and a virtual Tennessee trivia night. Learn more at tnmuseum.org/TN225.

For the latest information from the Library and Archives, follow their social media channels: Facebook: Tennessee State Library and Archives and Instagram: @tnlibarchives and the Secretary of State's Twitter account: @SecTreHargett.


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