Thursday, March 13, 2008


CONTACT: Melissa A. Zimmerman, 615-217-8013 or

Series Gets Under Way April 1 with Free Guided Tour of New Civil War Exhibit

(MURFREESBORO)—Representatives from the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area will kick off a series of public programs at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, beginning with a free guided tour of the new exhibit, The Time that Changed Everything: Murfreesboro’s Civil War Era.
During the upcoming event opening, Dr. Antoinette van Zelm, Heritage Area historian, will share highlights from the exhibit, with a special focus on the themes of emancipation and Reconstruction.
“This exhibit was a tremendous team effort, and we were all thrilled to discover how rich the local story of the Civil War era really is,” said van Zelm, who was one of several historians from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area who worked together with MTSU graduate students to create the new exhibit.
“The Battle of Stones River, of course, was the key event for the area, but there was plenty of other drama as well,” added van Zelm, who has authored a number of Civil War history-related articles and served as editor of Freedom and Work in the Reconstruction Era: The Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts of Williamson County, Tennessee (2006), an award-winning publication published by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.
Regarding the soon-to-open exhibit, “One of the most compelling stories of the Civil War period is the story of the transition from slavery to freedom,” van Zelm observed, “(and) our new exhibit looks at how this process took place locally.”
The Time that Changed Everything gallery tour will be the first of four in a Community Heritage Lecture Series that will be held at the Heritage Center and sponsored by the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, which is partnership unit of the National Park Service and is administered by the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU.
Additionally, Michael T. Gavin, the Heritage Area’s preservation specialist, will present a lecture on the log buildings of Rutherford County at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at the center. An encore presentation of this lecture will be given as a brown-bag lunch lecture the following Wednesday, June 4, beginning at noon. The final two lectures in the four-part will take place in the fall.
Located just off the historic Murfreesboro Square at 225 West College St., the Heritage Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Monday through Friday. Group tours and tours of the town square may be arranged in advance by calling 615-217-8013. There is no charge for admission.
The center is a joint venture between the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Main Street: Murfreesboro/Rutherford County, the City of Murfreesboro and MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation. Additional support comes from the Rutherford County Government and State Farm Insurance.
For more information on the Community Heritage Lecture Series, please call the Heritage Center at 615-217-8013 or send an e-mail to


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