Why Do You Love Your Museum? 

By Meghan E. Gattignolo 

The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is so grateful for all the generosity we experienced this past week throughout the I ♥ My Museum Give-A-Thon fundraiser and Courtyard Jam celebration. Members of the community who appreciate their local museum in Clarksville showed their support in a big way. Fundraisers are an important part of helping the Museum grow. Were you part of the excitement? If not, don’t worry – you can show your Museum some love all year round.  

Throughout the week, we heard from members, guests and supporters about all the different ways that the Museum is meaningful to them. Here are four great reasons why Clarksvillians from all walks of life love the Museum. 

Fond Childhood Memories 

Did you grow up in Clarksville? If you did, your first experience at the Museum was likely during a field trip. You probably remember Curator of Education Sue Lewis, who hosted almost every tour throughout the 1990s up until her retirement at the end of last year. Maybe you participated in crafts or attended an exhibit with your family that left an impression on you. I know many people who remember playing in the Bubble Cave, and they come back later with their own children to create new memories. Few places exist in Clarksville that have the same generational legacy. The Customs House Museum has served the community as a place to learn and discover for almost 40 years now and continues to grow as a worthy place to build memories with your family.  

Community Building 

A museum and cultural center is a great place to meet people in a neutral space. Not only is it conducive for making new friends, but it can also be a fantastic catalyst for building community. If you enjoy the Museum, chances are there are like-minded people in town that do too! The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is one of the best first places to go when you move to Clarksville. It’s an important historical and cultural touchstone that helps you get to know the city better. If you’re a mom with young children, coming to the Museum around 10am during the week will give you an opportunity to chat with other moms in Explorers Landing. Or, you can plan a meet-up with a group you’ve already established. The Museum also rents out space if you want to host your own community event or ceremony. 

Space for Mindful Meditation 

Sometimes you just need to get away and find your quiet place. Your local museum is a great location to practice mindfulness and contemplation. Meditation can mean a lot of different things to different people, but no matter how you meditate, the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is a great place to do it. The atmosphere you can experience in each gallery is significantly different from one to the other. Find joy in the quiet of the high-ceilinged Crouch Gallery – our biggest art exhibits usually take up space here, and you can enjoy the large, vast scale of the room any time. Through the end of this month, you can find an extraordinary exhibit of paintings by women artists here. If it gets too loud, walk over to the Peg Harvill Gallery, a tucked-away space in the 1898 Post Office. This gallery often has beautiful pieces of art lining its walls as well. Spend some time here enjoying beauty inside the historic building. The gallery is named for beloved local watercolor artist Peg Harvill, whose daughter Kitty Harvill will be exhibiting her own works soon in the Museum’s Jostens Gallery. If you prefer history over art, spend some reflection time in the Powers Family Log Home downstairs. The home is curated with objects contemporary to when the home was lived in. Close your eyes and imagine what life was like for an average Montgomery County resident in 1850.  

Always Something New 

One of the best things about the Customs House Museum is that exhibits are always changing, and you’ll often notice something new to enjoy during every visit. The Museum does boast a few permanent exhibits you can always depend on, but the staff works hard to make sure there’s always a fresh reason to visit. Sure, it’s sad to see your favorites leave. With our busy lives, sometimes it’s a challenge to make it to the Museum to see something you like. Keep an eye on when exhibits are scheduled through the website, follow the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center on Facebook and get notified about when things are happening at the Museum as a member

Do you have another reason why you ♥ your Museum? We’d love to hear it! Leave a comment on our Facebook page and let us know what you love most. Then, plan your next visit! The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is open every Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sundays from 1-5pm.  

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 daughters. 

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