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TENNESSEE STATE MUSEUM
TENNESSEE

STATE MUSEUM

Nashville, TN

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Ratified! Statewide! (Online)
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Women in politics made front-page news in Tennessee. During the long struggle for voting rights, Tennesseans throughout the state debated roles for women in public life. Click on a county — or use the dropdown menu if you’re on a mobile device — to explore stories about women’s political activities throughout the state, both before and after the state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Choose a County to explore Ratified! Statewide! stories

In Search of the New: Art in Tennessee after 1900
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At the opening of the 20th century, Tennessee was transitioning from a primarily agrarian economy to a mixed one. Artistic tastes would also change in this period. With the advent of photography, hard-edged reality could be captured by a camera much cheaper and truer than a painter could achieve. Artists began to go out with newly invented chemically-produced pigments in paint tubes, and that freed them to paint outdoors from reality, rather than from sketches. Experiments in new ways of depicting the world also very gradually crept into Tennessee as well. Artists represented in this show include Mayna Treanor Avent and Willie Betty Newman, two woman artists who went to Paris in the late nineteenth century to take painting lessons. When they returned home to Tennessee with their newly acquired training, their work brought new ways of showing the world around them. Other artists visited the state, or passed through, including Will Henry Stevens, Rudolph Ingerle, and Ernest Lawson. The Great Depression brought opportunity as well as hardship, with the WPA paying artists to create murals for government buildings across the state. You’ll discover several examples of studies by Dean Cornwell, Luis Mora, and George Davidson in the collection. Following World War II, artists such as Philip Perkins, who had worked in Paris before the war, came back home. European artists like Eugene Vitale Biel-Bienne also came to Tennessee from Paris, and taught other artists. These influences began to move some of our artists to use expressionism, abstraction, and surrealism.

Tennessee artists now are very much attuned to the latest styles and methods used in all forms of artistic expression. Nashville-natives Red Grooms and Robert Ryman have made international names for themselves. Margaret Ellis made a name for herself with a jewelry line, and Richard Jolley is an internationally known glass artist. At the same time our traditional crafts are also thriving. Akira and Larry Blount made dolls that are widely collected. William Edmondson is a legend in outsider sculpture. Wendy Maruyama brought a new style of Studio Furniture to the Appalachian Center for Crafts. Mark Taylor makes some of the finest musical instruments today. All of them are a reminder that the arts are very much alive and well in Tennessee.

Tennessee and the Great War: A Centennial Exhibition
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From the summer of 1914 until the spring of 1917, European nations were engaged in a global conflict that was supposed to be the “War to End All Wars,” while the United States remained a neutral country. President Woodrow Wilson had tried to keep America out of the war but forces inside and outside of the nation compromised its neutral stance and the U.S. entered the conflict on April 6, 1917. This exhibition will highlight the more than 61,000 Tennesseans who were drafted into the war and another 19,000 who volunteered. Most served in the army, but some joined other service branches. All served courageously, particularly the six Tennesseans who earned the Medal of Honor. In addition to those who served overseas, many contributed through war industries and volunteer organizations that mobilized at home. Women temporarily joined the workforce or became nurses. After the war, Tennesseans honored the service of all veterans with grand commemorations and memorials across the state.

Early Expressions: Art in Tennessee before 1990
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From the first inhabitants in what would become Tennessee, thousands of years ago, to people living here today, decorative and utilitarian art have been an important outlet for expressing who we are and how we live. Hand-made objects are a constant in the history of design in Tennessee, and the Museum has gathered in this exhibition the finest collection of artistic expressions from our state. The exhibition begins with Southeastern Indian ancestral figures, celts, pipes, ceramics, and basketry, which continues on to join textiles, ceramics, furniture, silver, jewelry, weapons, paintings, sculpture, prints, toys, photography, and musical instruments of later centuries.

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