This is a legitimately big deal:
A plan years in the making for a new Tennessee State Museum next to Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall may finally get funding for construction.
Gov. Bill Haslam has proposed allocating $120 million for a new state museum as part of an amendment to his 2015-16 budget that includes nearly $300 million in additional non-recurring investments. To become a reality, the new museum would also require $40 million in private funds from the museum’s ongoing fundraising efforts.
The governor’s office says it is moving forward on the museum and other new capital projects because franchise and excise tax collections exceeded estimates last month as a result of “an unusual one-time event” on top of other revenue collections and program savings.
“I think all of the plans have been pretty well agreed to, and this could move along pretty quickly now that we have the funding in place,” Tennessee Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin said of the museum.
It’s pretty exciting. I just hope the new galleries will be as jam-packed with artifacts as the current exhibits in the Polk building. The best thing about the current facility is the fact that you get to come face to face with so much awesome stuff. It’s that encounter with so many incredible objects that makes a visit to the state museum so special: personal effects from the Donelson party’s harrowing flatboat voyage to Middle Tennessee, the Peale portrait of Sevier, and (of course) that exhibit case full of King’s Mountain treasures.
If the new galleries keep the collections at the forefront in the same manner as the current exhibits, while employing the latest techniques to interpret them, then we’re going to be in for a great show.