Tennessee State Library & Archives Debuts New Exhibit Exploring the History of Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State Library & Archives’ new exhibit, A Grand Show: The 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, is now open for Tennesseans to explore the history of the state’s 100-year statehood celebration.
Guests can view this exhibit and the permanent interactive exhibits in the Library & Archives lobby from Monday to Saturday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CT. This exhibit is free and open to the public.
“Tennessee’s Centennial celebration was one of largest southern expositions of its time, leaving a lasting impact on Nashville in the form of Centennial Park and the iconic Parthenon replica,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “This exhibit provides guests a unique glimpse into that significant time period in our state’s history through items preserved at the Library & Archives.”
The exhibit highlights materials from the Library & Archives collections related to the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, which celebrated Tennessee’s 100 years of statehood. Items include photographs, admission passes, booklets, maps and more, offering a vivid snapshot of the state’s Centennial celebration, which attracted nearly 2 million attendees to what is now Nashville’s Centennial Park.
“We are thrilled to welcome guests to learn about this significant event in Tennessee’s history through items held in our vast collections,” said Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist Jamie Ritter. “The exhibit provides guests with an opportunity to step back in history to the late 1800’s and experience the statewide celebration.”
The mission of the Library & Archives, a division of the Department of State, is to preserve Tennessee’s history for current and future generations. They collect and protect books, records and other documents of historical and reference value, focusing on items about Tennessee and Tennesseans.
The Library & Archives is home to many irreplaceable historical documents, including Tennessee’s three constitutions, letters from Tennessee’s three presidents, records from 55 former Tennessee governors, a comprehensive collection of Tennessee newspapers dating back to 1791 and original records of the State of Franklin.
The Library & Archives is located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way North on the northeast corner of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. The Library & Archives garage is on Junior Gilliam Way.
The Library & Archives library, microfilm and manuscripts reading rooms are open for research Tuesday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. Research appointments are recommended. With an appointment, Library & Archives staff can help visitors build a list of relevant collection items and can often pull some of the items in advance.
For more information about the Library & Archives or to schedule a research appointment, call 615-741-2764, email ask@tsla.libanswers.com or visit sos.tn.gov/tsla/plan-your-visit.



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