Travelers along Interstate 40 can do more than stretch their legs while stopping between Nashville and Memphis: They can also expand their knowledge of Civil War history.
The Tennessee State Library and Archives’ (TSLA) exhibit titled “Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee” is now on display in Parker’s Crossroads, a historical community along I-40 halfway between the state’s two largest cities.
For months, TSLA staff members have been traveling around the state, digitally scanning copies of Civil War era documents and photographing artifacts owned by Tennesseans. The exhibit features a sampling of those documents and photographs.
Some of the featured items belong to residents of Henderson County, where Parker’s Crossroads is located.
Bringing the “Looking Back” exhibit to Parker’s Crossroads was the inspiration of Steve McDaniel, who in addition to serving as deputy speaker for the state House of Representatives is also a history enthusiast.
“Having this exhibit in Henderson County is a great way to show West Tennesseans how their artifacts were used,” said Rep. McDaniel, whose legislative district includes the area. “Hopefully, more people outside of Nashville will be able to see the exhibit and learn about the Civil War.”
Parker’s Crossroads was the site of a Civil War battle when Confederate forces led by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest met Union forces led by Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan Dec. 31, 1862. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the battlefield site, which now has a bookstore and a new visitors’ center where the exhibit is located.
TSLA is a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
“The ‘Looking Back’ exhibit has been a great success at TSLA and I thank Rep. McDaniel for making arrangements to have the exhibit temporarily displayed in his legislative district,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “This is a great way to provide people who can't make it to Nashville with more information about the Civil War. I hope other legislators will want to bring the exhibit to their districts as well.”
The visitors’ center is located at 20945 Highway 22 North in Parker’s Crossroads, at exit 108 on I-40. The center is open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., seven days a week. The exhibit will remain there through Sept. 30. For more information about the visitors’ center, contact Kim Parker at (731) 968-1191.
For people who are in Middle Tennessee, there is another Civil War exhibit in the lobby of TSLA’s building at 403 7th Avenue North in Nashville, next to the State Capitol building. That exhibit, the first in a series of five, focuses on 1861, the first year of the war, and is part of the statewide commemoration of the war’s 150th anniversary.
TSLA is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information about TSLA or the Nashville exhibit, which will remain available for viewing until early August, call (615) 741-2764 or visit http://www.tn.gov/tsla/.