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Name:   Granville Museum The author of this post is registered as a member - Email Member
Subject:   Ag heritage on display
Date:   8/8/2010 12:11:57 PM

Grants from the state of Tennessee help fund Granville's new agricultural museum
Story and photos by Mark E. Johnson

The tiny, historic, southern Jackson County hamlet of Granville came alive with bluegrass music, homemade ice cream, arts and crafts, classic cars, and thousands of curious visitors Saturday, May 29, as the town staged its 12th annual Heritage Day festival.

Among the events drawing attention to this year’s festival was the dedication of a new agricultural wing of the town’s museum. Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Ken Givens, Sen. Charlotte Burks of Monterey, and Representatives Henry Fincher of Cookeville and Les Winningham of Huntsville were on hand to officially open the facility to the public during the morning ceremony that kicked off the day’s festivities.
Randall Clemons, president of the Granville Museum, credited a 2009 grant from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture with proceeds derived from the Ag Tag Program and funds from the 2010 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program for making the museum a reality. Construction on the project began in August 2009 and was mostly completed in time for the festival.

“When Cordell Hull Lake was created, a lot of our fertile river bottoms were taken, and agriculture took a step back,” said Clemons during the dedication. “By developing the museum, we’ve tried to preserve the agricultural history that is so important here. We are so fortunate to be able to take that to a different level as a result of the state of Tennessee and what they have been able to help us do. We can’t say ‘thanks’ enough.”

The impressive facility is packed with an assortment of antique farm implements and tools and exhibits on subjects ranging from tobacco to blacksmithing. There is a 1950s-era photo essay on tobacco production, a collection of photos of area farmers, and a partial scale reproduction of a historic barn in nearby Chestnut Mound using actual wood from the original structure. There is even a children’s “Farmer of the Day” interactive exhibit where kids can gather farm products to be bartered for candy inside the nearby Sutton General Store.

After spending several minutes touring the museum, Givens called the facility “incredible” and said he hoped it would become a model for other communities in Tennessee.

“Children can come in here and see how things used to be,” he said. “I just think it’s great that a community would do this, and my head is already spinning on what other places might be able to do. It’s exciting that our Ag Enhancement program can be involved in projects like this. We have a category that helps fund farmers markets, county fairs, and so on, and this project fits right in. These enhancement dollars are so important to rural communities in a variety of ways.”

Givens said next year’s Ag Enhancement Program will include a category to help fund community and school garden projects in both rural and urban areas. Burks, a longtime farmer in Monterey, said projects like the museum bring much-needed attention to the ag industry.

“This is what all rural communities are built on; it’s what our nation is built on,” she said. “On a national level, we keep getting away from that. It used to be that in the [state] Senate, everybody was either raised on a farm or had parents that were, but that’s not the case anymore. It gets harder in Nashville to tell the rural story, and things like this museum really help.”

In his thanks to the lawmakers, Clemons acknowledged the significance of the donated funds.
“We are going to try to do our part in our museum and make sure the tax dollars you have given us are used in a wise way,” he said. “Granville’s just a wide place in the road. Sometimes it takes somebody like these people to have faith in you to accomplish a project like this museum, and we greatly appreciate that.”
Granville Museum will host The Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit “Journey Stories” from
Oct. 2 through Nov. 14. For more information, visit the exhibit website at
stories. Normal business hours of the museum are noon to
3 p.m., and admission is free. For more information about the museum, visit online at


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Ag heritage on display - Granville Museum - 8/8/2010 12:11:57 PM

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