Best-of lists often sum up trends and themes for both writers and readers that are indicative of the year. Last year's "Most Popular Blog Posts" list revealed a clear interest in women's history and social justice. This year's list, much like the roller coaster of the year we've had, bounces a bit all over the place, with posts on the history of segregated schools, recording technology, sports, public art, the decorative arts and more rising to the top of reader (and writer) interest. Here are this year's most popular blog posts from the Museum's Stories blog.
1. Rosenwald Schools and the Importance of Preserving History - Rosenwald Schools -- single-room schools built for African American students during the height of segregation -- serve as an important reminder about the fight for equal rights, and the importance of preserving history.
2. Beverley Gooch and the Evolution of Magnetic Tape - We offer a profile of engineer Beverly Gooch, whose work with the Ampex Corporation helped the corporation become an industry leader in the recording of audio, video and data. "Coming from a modest background in Nashville," wrote curator Rob DeHart, "Gooch’s life demonstrates how a lot of curiosity and hard work can lead to a legacy of innovation."
3. Nikki Giovanni: A Poet’s Upbringing in Tennessee - One of Oprah Winfrey's 25 Living Legends, and winner of a Langston Hughes Medal and an NAACP Image Award, poet Nikki Giovanni has strong ties to both Knoxville and Nashville.
4. SEC: The Creation and Expansion of the Southeastern Conference - The Southeastern Conference (SEC) will expand in 2025. Has this ever happened before? Curator Matthew Gailani explored the conference's history of change.
5. Reflecting on 225 Years of Tennessee History, Through 100 Artifacts and Five Themes - This past year marked the 225th anniversary of Tennessee statehood. The Museum commemorated the occasion by choosing one hundred artifacts, across five themes, that we feel tell the state's story.
6. From Nashville to the Major Leagues: The Nashville Sounds of the 1980s - From 1980 to 1984, the Nashville Sounds weren’t just any Minor League team, they were the Southern League affiliate of the New York Yankees. The recent donation of several artifacts from that period, donated by former bat boy and visiting locker room manager George P. Brown, helps us tell the story.
7. Remembrance: Military Representation through Public Art at the Tennessee State Capitol - The relocation of three busts from the State Capitol to the State Museum in the summer offered the Museum an opportunity to explore how public art in the Capitol has changed, and continues to change.
8. Treasures from the Collection: Staff Favorites - Winter 2021 - For the Museum Fall/Winter newsletter, Museum staff answered the difficult question: What's your favorite artifact in the Museum's collection?
9. New Acquisitions to the Museum's Collection - Winter 2021 - A collection of items belonging to Robert Churchwell, the first African American journalist hired by a major southern daily newspaper, are the among the items recently acquired by the Museum.
10. Collection Highlight: Desk & Bookcase by Moses Crawford, 1790 to 1800 - The Museum examines a desk and bookcase built by Tennessee’s earliest documented cabinetmaker, Moses Crawford. Made of walnut and yellow pine, this piece of furniture dates between 1790 and 1800.