Forging a Nation (1760 to 1860)
The period from 1760 to 1860 was a time of almost unimaginable change. Through artifacts, film, and images, discover how settlers moved into the land that became the 16th state, and how Southeastern Indians resisted. Exhibits highlight the challenges and achievements of everyday Tennessee women and men, free and enslaved, who built communities across the Three Grand Divisions. This gallery also features artifacts that explore the lives of Tennessee leaders who shaped the future of the young United States, such as Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, David Crockett, and Sam Houston.
Artifact highlights include a complete print-shop and cutaway log cabin that provide a glimpse into the lives of early settlers. A rare 13-star United States flag is displayed with an exhibit on the role of Tennesseans in the Revolutionary War. War of 1812 artifacts include an American light artillery uniform coat, a sword that belonged to John Coffee who served as one of General Andrew Jackson’s commanders, and a mold used by enslaved workers at a Dickson County iron furnace to make cannonballs for General Jackson’s army. The hat that Jackson wore at his 1829 presidential inauguration, a guitar that belonged to Houston’s wife, Eliza, and a snuffbox given to Crockett by Henry Clay are just a few examples of other significant artifacts.