Celebrate 40 Years with a Week of Giving at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center 

By Meghan E. Gattignolo 

Hopefully, there comes a time in every museum’s life when it can reflect back on four decades of serving a community. In June, the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center will reach such a milestone. For 40 years, the Museum has had a hand in shaping the current Clarksville community. Long-time visitors, who were kids in the 1980s and 1990s, now have kids themselves and continue to bring their own families into the Museum to recapture a little of their own childhood memories. The Museum has become, among other things, a treasured place for families to grow and learn together.  

The Museum is also the best place in Clarksville for art patrons to enjoy both historic and new contemporary art, as well as a place for history buffs or curious newcomers to learn more about Clarksville’s dynamic history. 

This June, the Museum is giving all its biggest fans and lifelong patrons the chance to be involved in celebrating its 40th birthday. Not only will members and visitors get to participate in giving back to the Museum by helping to raise money to improve the Museum’s functionality, but they also get to enjoy a full week of events and programs! Find out what all the Museum has going on during June’s Week of Giving! 

All images by Debra Kierce. Red White and Blue. Oil. 4 x 2.5 in. White Works. Oil on panel. 6 x 6. Sonflowers. Oil. 22.5 x 22 in.

Debra Keirce Paints for You on Sunday, June 2 

Acclaimed artist Debra Keirce is a realist who works with oil paint. The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center previously hosted an exhibit of her miniature art a few years ago. Visitors will get to see Keirce’s work up close during an art demonstration on Sunday, June 2 at 3pm as part of the Museum’s Sundays at 3:00 program series.   

During the demonstration, Keirce will discuss what to consider while painting a realism work, such as hues and color saturation, as well as focus on drawing and details. The program is free and open to the public, though registration is highly encouraged. 

Online Giving Begins on Monday, June 3 

Here’s your chance to actively participate in the Museum’s future and help fund endeavors to improve the building and offerings by donating a monetary birthday gift online. When online giving opens up on the Museum’s website on Monday, June 3, donating will be incredibly easy and can be done from the comfort of home to help the Museum reach its fundraising goal! 

Channing Grimes, the Museum’s hard-working Membership, Volunteer & Development Manager, has high hopes that everyone who loves the Museum will help contribute to the fundraising goal. “This Week of Giving is special. It’s typically held in May but has been moved to June to celebrate the Museum’s birthday. I love that each day we have something different, something for everyone,” said Grimes. “Our goal for the week is $10,000, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s not about the money, but what the money will do for the Museum.” 

Check out the website and Facebook page to rally support for the Museum’s mission! Watch updates and live progress reports on Facebook. Online giving will be available all Week of Giving long! 

Free Cumberland Winds Concert on Tuesday, June 4 

On Tuesday from 11am to 1pm, the Museum will host a Lunchtime Concert in the courtyard. Local concert band Cumberland Winds will make an appearance. Enjoy the live music outdoors while you eat. Happy Bun Hot Dogs and Veggie or Not food trucks will also be in attendance.  

Watercolors with Peach McComb and Pat Patrick on Wednesday, June 5 

Renowned artists Peach McComb and Pat Patrick from the Tennessee Watercolor Society share their craft with you during a live painting demonstration. Watercolor painting can be a tricky medium to get right, but you can see how these two accomplished artists make beautiful paintings up close from 10am to 12pm. 

First Thursday Art Walk & The Longest Day Screening on Thursday, June 6 

This June 6 is the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings on D-Day, and the beginning of the end of World War II. At 3pm, the Museum is commemorating the anniversary of D-Day with a screening of the 1962 film The Longest Day. Afterwards, visitors can check out the new D-Day exhibit in the lobby. The 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell took part in the Normandy Landings, and many of the items on exhibit are visiting from the Don F. Pratt Museum. Johnny and June’s Italian Ice and Pbody’s food trucks will be outside in the courtyard.  

Grab Coffee & Donuts at the Museum on Friday, June 7 

Enjoy a peaceful morning walk through the Museum on Friday to end your week right. The Museum opens early, and from 9-11am, visitors can also enjoy a delicious donut and savor fresh coffee from Grindhead Coffee food truck before checking out the latest exhibits.  

Celebration & Giving

The staff has been hard at work to make the week of celebration and giving a wonderful one. Visitor Services Manager Laura Cagaoan wants everyone to know that one of the Museum’s goals is also to create a welcoming space. “We have some great events planned for our members and visitors, and we hope everyone comes and supports the Museum!”  

Don’t miss out! Enjoy everything the Museum has to offer and celebrate a local institution turning the big 4-0 during the Week of Giving, next week June 2 – June 7!  

Meghan E. Gattignolo is a freelance writer and longtime Clarksville, TN resident. She loves to obsess about historical subjects and annoy her family daily with unsolicited random facts. Meghan holds a History B.A. from Austin Peay State University and lives in town with her husband and two children. 

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