Center for Historic Preservation

Mission Statement

The Center for Historic Preservation exists to improve the quality of life and future economic development opportunities for Tennessee through identification, research, preservation, protection, interpretation and promotion of our historic environment, which includes sites, buildings, districts, objects, documents, structures, oral history and folk traditions. Through its research publications, projects, programs, activities and specialized library, equipment and facilities, the center responds to the requests, needs and concerns of communities, individuals, agencies and organizations, both governmental and not-for-profit, working toward historic preservation goals.

Goals and Objectives

  • Initiate and support policies and programs which promote an enhanced quality of life and economic opportunities which are aligned with and based on the sensitive man agement and conservation of historical resources.
  • Assume a leadership role in public policy formation and implementation on matters relating to historic preservation issues.
  • Support the academic programs of MTSU through teaching and training students in specific historic preservation course work and center projects.


The Center for Historic Preservation commits its resources to the identification, protec- tion, conservation, interpretation and continued use of our historic resources. The center participates in partnerships in the state and in the broader Mid-South among those who can contribute to successful preservation in rural and urban communities. In this way, economic development and pride of place is supported through the enhancement, protec- tion and promotion of heritage resources.


Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective documents farms, in 94 of the state's 95 counties, that have been owned and operated by the same family for at least 100 years. This publication was published in 1986 in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The Best of Both Worlds: The Challenge of Growth Enhancement in the Mid-South was published in 1988 with grant support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Does the Past Hold a Future for You? is a guide to career opportunities in historic preservation and related professions. This was published in 1990 in cooperation with the National Center for the Study of History. Painting Historic Buildings: Materials and Techniques, An Annotated Bibliography was published by the National Park Service in 1993. Hearthstones, an architectural history of Rutherford County, was published in 1994 as a cooperative effort with the Oaklands Association.

Major Programs

The services of the center generally fall within six programs or initiatives.

Town and Country Preservation focuses on the unique heritage, resources and chal- lenges of rural areas and small towns. This initiative includes National Register survey and nominations for districts and individual properties, as well as the ongoing, statewide Century Farms program.

Heritage Tourism is concerned with the sensitive management, protection, interpretation and promotion of Tennessee's cultural, historic and natural resources and the economic benefits available to communities and organizations through tourism.

A team of students and staff from the Center for Historic Preservation examines the Stanton Masonic Lodge and Old School (ca. 1871, Haywood County) as part of a 1986 historic structures report which was used as a guide in the now-completed restoration project.
Heritage Education supports the work of the Basic Schools Program in Tennessee and the national Goals 2000 education reform efforts by promoting the use of community heritage resources in K-12 classrooms and through teacher training.

The Building Technology and Architectural Conservation Initiative provides technical services, previously unavailable in Tennessee, for persons involved in architectural restoration.

The Information Resource Management Initiative links the center and its staff to the outside world though the information superhighway.

The Historic Sites and Museums Initiative responds to increasing requests for technical assistance from small and rural Tennessee communities interested in having more permanent heritage programs.

Major Accomplishments

The center has provided assistance, services and programs which have positively affected the historic resources of every Tennessee county. For example, the Century Farms program now includes documentation from all 95 counties and the traveling exhibit which toured the state in 1988-89 visited 20 towns. National Register Districts have been prepared for many communities, including Covington, Dyersburg, Cumberland Gap, Sparta and Lynchburg. Historic Structures Reports have been developed as research and recommendation guides for over 40 restoration projects, including Clover Bottom Mansion (Davidson County), Stanton Lodge and School (Haywood County), Hamilton Place (Maury County), the T. S. Stribling House (Wayne County) and the Collier-Crichlow House (Rutherford County). Education programs have been provided for Main Street Columbia, Pulaski and Murfreesboro, the Carmichael Inn in Loudon County, Manskers's Station in Goodlettsville and Liberty in Dekalb County. Conservation reports for the Tennessee Supreme Court Building, Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro and many historic residences have assisted in restoration planning. The center has also cooperated with Shiloh and Stones River National Battlefields in ongoing interpretive and conservation efforts.


In the next five years, the center will continue its varied work to link heritage and economic development in its six initiatives. Planning is proceeding on a second publication on Tennessee's Century Farms. The Heritage Education Initiative will involve more Tennessee communities and alliances with local historic sites. The Heritage Tourism Initiative proposal for a National Heritage Area on the Civil War in Tennessee will require collaborative partnerships in 55 counties. In Murfreesboro, an effort is underway to create a heritage tourism gateway linking local historic and cultural sites. A "Tennessee Heritage at Risk" report will assess endangered and/or overlooked resources including African-American sites. A conference on the Rosenwald Rural School Program is scheduled. The center will produce, in joint partnership with the Tennessee Historical Society, an encyclopedia of Tennessee. Finally, a national architectural artifacts collection and inventory, developed in association with the National Park Service, should lead to the development of a standard nomenclature