Tennessee Agricultural Museum

History

The Tennessee Agricultural Museum, located at the Ellington Agricultural Center, operates under the direction of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

The site was originally a land grant farm owned by the Ewing family. The last private owner of the property was Rogers Caldwell.

Although the museum was established by a 1959 legislative act, it was not until 20 years later that operating funds were allocated. In 1988, a non-profit museum association was chartered to provide support for the museum. The Oscar L. Farris Agricultural Museum Association was named in honor of Oscar L. Farris, the Davidson County extension agent who was instrumental in establishing the museum and its collections.

The museum is housed in a renovated horse barn that was built in the 1920s on the Brentwood Hall estate of financier Rogers Caldwell. The museum has a priceless collection of artifacts and offers a variety of public programs. Farm equipment, household items, tools, textiles, rural Tennessee prints and photographs depict a time from the early 1800s to the 1930s.

Museum Complex:

Log cabins adjacent to the Ag Museum were once used as living quarters by Rogers Caldwell's stable hands. The cabins, which date to the early 1800s, have exhibits depicting early settlement in Tennessee.

The Safley School is a replica of a one-room school house. Erected in honor of late school master John Robert Safley and his family, the log structure recreates a time when rural areas had central building often used for both school and church.

Miss Catherine's Farm House was originally a dogtrot log cabin like the one found nearby. With an addition and other updates, a small farmhouse was created for the TDA groundskeeper. The farmhouse was eventually renovated for museum use and named in honor of former Tennessee First Lady Catherine Ellington.

The Strasser Experience Center is a pavilion with tractor exhibits and independent activities--a great place to have fun, discover unusual farm facts, see vintage tractors and even become the timepiece on the analemmatic sun clock.

The post and beam equipment shed exhibits mule-drawn farm equipment. Nearby, there is a sorghum cook shed used during the third weekend in October for making sorghum molasses. This is a great time to see the mule powered sorghum mill in action. (Learn more).



      E newsletter

TN Agricultural Museum • (615) 837-5197 • tennessee.agricultural.museum@tn.gov