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President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library

The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library, along with the Doak House Museum, form the Museums of Tusculum College, located in Greene County. The college’s Department of Museum Program and Studies administers the museums, which are located on the campus’s National Register-listed historic district. Tusculum College is the one of the oldest colleges in the country, the oldest in Tennessee, and the oldest co-educational school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library is located in “Old College,” built in 1841 by Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak to house his growing Tusculum Academy. The academy became a full college in 1844. The building was constructed from donations, one of which came from State Senator Andrew Johnson, who gave twenty dollars. The structure was designed incorporating the Federal block plan with a bell tower typical of the period. For forty-six years, “Old College” was the institution’s only building and housed the President’s Office, a library, chapel, classrooms, and room for two debating societies. After 1887, when other structures were constructed, the building served a variety of college uses. In 1993, it was restored and equipped to house the college archives and the new Department of Museum Program and Studies, one of the few undergraduate museum-study degree programs in the country.

“Old College” features a permanent exhibit about President Johnson and rotating exhibits on a variety of topics. The archives of the college consist of the remains of the original Greeneville College Library, approximately fourteen hundred books with the oldest having been printed in 1487. Other collections include personal and family artifacts of President Andrew Johnson including his personal library, and over nine hundred linear feet of documents and photos tracing the history of the college.

The Doak House Museum is located at the site of the original Tusculum Academy founded in 1818 by Rev. Samuel Doak and his son Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak. The current house was built around 1830 in a modified Georgian style. An adjoined kitchen and addition were added approximately three years later. The home had been lived in only by members of the Doak family until it was given to the college in 1974. The house contains several period rooms with antiques that belonged to the Doaks, as well as other period pieces. Today the Doak House Museum is the focal point of the department’s museum education programs and host over ten thousand school children each year for hands-on curriculum-based programs. The site also includes the restored academy building, built around 1835. The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, has conducted extensive archaeological investigations on the property. This work revealed three building sites and numerous artifacts, including projectile points dating back four to six thousand years.

Published » January 04, 2010