Battle Scarred exhibit takes viewers inside Franklin battle

Battle Scarred exhibit takes viewers inside Franklin battle

Story and Photos By MICHAEL ACKLEY

History may always be in danger of fading into the past, so every generation must put into context moments that shaped its times so they donet lose their relevancy to the present.

History may always be in danger of fading into the past, so every generation must put into context moments that shaped its times so they donet lose their relevancy to the present.

It takes vigilance to ensure historical moments are preserved and understood in the minds of the here-and-now to keep interest levels strong enough to fund such projects. Materials and artifacts must be amassed to recreate the stories and ensure the public will understand what happened.

Thates why last Friday evening, Aug. 1, The Battle of Franklin Trust held a soft opening for eBattle Scarred: Special Exhibition at Carnton Plantation.e More than 150 invited guests checked out 100-plus artifacts, interactive displays, visual graphics, and historical narratives assembled to put into context the Battle of Franklin. Next Nov. 30 will be the 150th anniversary one of the bloodiest days of conflict in U.S. history.

eThis is what the story of the Battle of Franklin has deserved all along,e said Eric Jacobson, CEO and historian of The Battle of Franklin Trust.

eThis exhibit is something that no one alive has ever seen. Ites the largest collection of artifacts from the Battle of Franklin ever assembled in this town. It took two years to gather the material, curate, and reach out to donors to make this exhibit possible. This isnet just a one-off exhibit for us this is the future.e

Tim Kearns, president of the Carnton Plantation Board, said the exhibit was made possible in part by the increase in historic tourism in Middle Tennessee.

eThe economy has helped to increase historic tourism,e Kearns said. eWe have the facility, we have the visitors and we have the passion from this community. I talk to people all over the city and I am surprised by their knowledge of the Battle of Franklin. This exhibit coincides with something that only happens every 150 years. The last time these artifacts were all together was on the day of the battle.e

Jacobson later whetted the crowdes historic appetite as it sat beneath a large white tent on the Carnton Plantation grounds and enjoyed food catered by Simply Living Life:

eGet ready because it is something like youeve never seen before,e Jacobson said. e(Carnton curator) Joanna Stevens and I started talking five to six years ago as to how to put the story of The Battle of Franklin on national scale where it belongs.e

Jacobson then thanked the many people and corporations who contributed funds, resources, time and artifacts to make the exhibit a reality before thanking his colleague Stevens:

eThis is her idea, her baby,e Jacobson said. eShe is the person who knew how to put this story into context by telling the stories that needed to be told. This event mattered to the history of our country. This was a monumental event. What happened here mattered.e

The remarks of Stevens followed Jacobson.

eItes been a long two-and-a-half years putting this exhibit together,e she said. eWe worked with 1220 Exhibits (a Nashville firm which specializes in designing exhibits). They took my drawing and were able to turn them into a reality. The most important relationship is with the descendants of the Battle of Franklin. It is an honor and privilege to open the doors to this event.e

When the doors were opened, every audience member received a sealed envelope which detailed the fate of an individual soldier who fought in the battle. The audience was asked to not open their envelope before leaving the exhibit.

Those in the crowd called the exhibit astonishing there are military uniforms, saddlebags, guns, swords, bibles, historical documents, artillery, quotes from soldiers on television screens, photographs and each part of it is fully detailed with notes to help the viewer put everything in context.

eFor someone who is not from Franklin, this made the battle real to me,e said Shanna Jackson, dean of Extended Services and the Williamson County Campus of Columbia State Community College. eThis exhibit helps to tell the story that is so important to our town.e

Jackson opened her sealed envelope moments later to find out that her soldier survived.

Click above for a slideshow of photographs from the exhibition.

Adult tickets for the exhibit are $10; children ages 6-12 are $5 and children under five are admitted free. The Battle of Franklin Trust recommends that visitors allow 30-60 minutes to view the exhibit, which is open now through April 26, 2015.

To learn more about the new exhibit click here.

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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