Historic “Dear Governor” Exhibit Opens to Public on Statehood Day at Tennessee State Library & Archives

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — To celebrate Statehood Day on the Bicentennial Mall State Park Campus, the Tennessee State Library & Archives has announced its new “Dear Governor” exhibit will debut to the public on Saturday, June 1. 

As part of Statehood Day at the Library & Archives, visitors can see this exciting new exhibit featuring rare correspondences from constituents during the tenures of various Tennessee governors. These communications date back to the earliest days of Tennessee’s history and provide an incredible glimpse into the moments and events that shaped the tenures of Tennessee’s leaders.

“The staff at the Library & Archives has done a phenomenal job organizing and assembling this historic exhibit featuring letters from constituents, communications from the governor’s office to the White House, and outreach from the office of the governor to Tennesseans across the state,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “Preserving these historic items helps us capture the sentiment of certain timeframes while reminding us that every written word can profoundly impact future generations.” 

Former Governors Lamar Alexander, Phil Bredesen, and Bill Haslam were the first to see TSLA’s newest exhibit during a private viewing earlier this month. The historic correspondences captured in this collection will be available for public viewing in the Interactive Exhibit Lobby from June 1 through early fall. 

“Dear Governor provides a unique experience for Tennesseans to learn more about these constituent communications and the considerable impact the words contained in them had on the decision-makers that have led our great state,” said State Librarian & Archivist Jamie Ritter. “We hope all Tennesseans will come to the Library & Archives and utilize this rare opportunity to learn something new about Tennessee’s leaders and how they interacted with constituents.”  

In addition to the official debut of the “Dear Governor” exhibit on Statehood Day, attendees can see the three original state constitutions presented and guarded by the Tennessee Highway Patrol Honor Guard, starting at 11:00 a.m. Statehood Day festivities will provide free activities for all ages and interests including keepsake crafts, live music, living history interpreters, face painting, a sensory-friendly room, and an opportunity to write your very own letter to Gov. Bill Lee. 

Behind-the-scenes tours, which include stops at the robotic retrieval system and blast freezer, begin at 11:30 a.m. Space is limited, and reservations may be made on the event day. 

The Library & Archives is located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N. on Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, across from the Tennessee State Museum. The facility’s garage is on Junior Gilliam Way. 

For the latest information, follow our social media channels: Facebook: Tennessee State Library & Archives and Instagram: @tnlibarchives.

You can also learn more about the Library & Archives by calling (615) 741-2764 or emailing ask@tsla.libanswers.com.

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