Historical Websites

Explore four historical websites in the Nashville or Tennessee area that have a tie in to historical importance of American History prior to 1877. Explain and analyze these websites. Many possibilities- The Hermitage, The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, James K. Polk Home, Tennessee History Museum, and many other possibilities. Construct a four page paper (double spaced) based on information you learned from exploring these websites and demonstrate their importance to American history.

 

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Historical Websites

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, or simply the Hermitage, is a historical mansion and museum located in Nashville. The Hermitage is a National Historic Landmark which means the site has significance in American national history. The Hermitage was the presidential home of Andrew Jackson who was the seventh US president. The website of the Hermitage provides extensive knowledge about the historical site. Firstly, the website indicates that Jackson resided at the Hermitage starting in 1804 until he died in 1845 (Hermitage par.1). The mansion was partly destroyed by a fire in 1837 whereupon Jackson initiated renovations that turned the mansion into a Federal-style building. The website states that the Hermitage is one of the largest historic site museums in the US, occupying around 1,120 acres. Furthermore, the Hermitage is among the most visited historical site museums in the US by the number of total annual visitors.

The website of the Hermitage is well-designed and easy to navigate which improves access to historical information. The website provides information about slavery, indicating that Andrew Jackson and his family owned over 300 slaves over 77 years (Hermitage par.1). The Hermitage website describes how the slaves lived, their interaction with their owners, and how some slaves gained their freedom by fleeing. The website is a valuable source of information about the economy of the US from the early 1800s. For instance, Jackson ran owned a cotton plantation where the slaves worked. Cotton growing and production were of great economic and political significance in the American South before the Civil War. The idea to abolish slavery sparked the Civil War because southern states viewed abolition as a direct threat to the thriving cotton industry in the region. The Hermitage website describes the Trail of Tears which was the removal of American Indians from the south by the US government from 1830 to 1850 (Hermitage par.3-4). Educational resources on the website also offer information about Andrew Jackson’s presidency and the War of 1812.

Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum is a museum located in Nashville. The focus of the museum is the history of Tennessee. The Tennessee State Museum was established in 1937 following authorization by the Tennessee General Assembly. The museum houses a wide collection of historical artifacts, artworks, and mementos (TNMuseum 1). According to its website, the mission of the Tennessee State Museum is to obtain, preserve, exhibit, and interpret items of economic, political, social, and cultural to Tennessee and its people. Furthermore, the museum runs educational programs and exhibitions that offer cultural and educational enrichment to Tennesseans.

The website of the Tennessee State Museum is a valuable source of information about the history of the State of Tennessee. The “Programs & Events” section of the website has a collection of videos that educate on a wide range of topics relevant to the history of Tennessee and the American South. Some of the topics covered include the history of African Americans, the Civil War, Native American history, music and art, and the general history of the State of Tennessee. The website of the Tennessee State Museum describes the collection of art and artifacts that chart the history of the state from prehistoric times to the present. For instance, the website used the collection to educate about slavery, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction era (TNMuseum 1). The website also highlights the role of Tennessee in the Revolutionary War that secured the independence of the US from Great Britain.

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum is a historical site situated in Memphis, Tennessee. The museum is part of the Burkle Estate which is commonly referred to as Slavehaven because of its association with the Underground Railroad. The Burkle Estate was constructed in 1849 by Jacob Burkle and the site is believed to have been a station in the Underground network in Tennessee that allowed runaway slaves to cross to free states in the North (SlaveHaven 1). The Slave Haven Museum was opened in 1997. The museum houses a collection of artifacts of historical significance. The museum gives tours where visitors get educated on the slave trade and the Underground Railroad.

The Slave Haven Museum website is simple and easy to navigate. The website provides in-depth information about slavery and the anti-slavery movement. On slavery, the Slave Haven Museum website documents the brutality of the slave trade, describing how Africans were forcefully relocated to the US and sold off as slaves to the highest bidder. The website documents how slavery robbed the slaves of their dignity and freedom (SlaveHaven 1). The website offers in-depth information about the Underground Railroad which facilitated the escape of slaves to freedom. The website documents how the Burkle Estate was used as a station in the Underground Railroad to provide refuge to escaping slaves. As such, the website enlightens on the significance of the Underground Railroad in the fight against enslavement in the American South. There is information about how Jacob Burkle, the owner of the Burkle Estate, supported the anti-slavery movement. The museum’s website also offers information about the economic situation in the south during the 1800s with the highlight of cotton growing and production that was reliant on slave labor.

East Tennessee History Center

The East Tennessee History Center is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The center houses a museum that is run by the East Tennessee Historical Society.  The East Tennessee Historical Society was founded in 1834 to preserve the history of the State of Tennessee (ETHS par, 2). The society also offers educational programs to educate Tennesseans on the rich history of the state. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts of significance to the history and culture of Tennessee. The museum also publishes essays and other scholarly works under the Journal of East Tennessee History.

The website of the East Tennessee History Center is a valuable source of information on the history of slavery in the state. The website provides resources on antebellum slavery. Through the educational programs offered by the museum, the website explores how antebellum slavery shaped the state in the pre-Civil War period. Secondly, the website of the East Tennessee History Center offers in-depth information about the 1861 debate that happened between pro-secessionists and Unionists in East Tennessee. Such information helps to understand the unique position of East Tennessee in opposing secession when the rest of the state was heavily in favor of seceding (ETHS par, 6). The East Tennessee History Center website documents the role of Tennessee in the Revolutionary War. Finally, the website has resources for students and teachers on the Civil War in which Tennessee fought with the Confederacy against the union. The website provides primary sources and scholarly works that document the role of Tennessee in the war and the impacts of the war on the people and economy of the state.

 

 

Works Cited

ETHS. “Teacher resources.” East Tennessee Historical Society, 2022, https://www.easttnhistory.org/education/teacher-resources

Hermitage. “Andrew Jackson’s Mansion.” Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, 2022, https://thehermitage.com/learn/mansion-grounds/mansion/

SlaveHaven. “The Antislavery Movement.” Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, 2022, https://slavehavenmemphis.com/the-antislavery-movement

TNMuseum. “Permanent Exhibits.” Tennessee State Museum, 2022, https://tnmuseum.org/permanent-exhibits/exhibits/civilwarandreconstruction

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