Exhibit space at Nashville home of President Andrew Jackson is undergoing a $1 million revamp. The goal is to help visitors to The Hermitage better understand how the man who lived there changed the United States.
The Hermitage has long been marketed as an authentic step back in time. It holds an unusually intact collection of artifacts authentic to the house and its residents, even a pair of the president’s bedroom slippers. But in a competitive environment, with so many options for tourists in Nashville, CEO Howard Kittell says it was time to create a more interactive museum space that tells more about Jackson’s life when he wasn’t at home. “People love the stories of people,” Kittell points out, “and certainly Jackson is one of our most colorful and dynamic presidents.”
Jackson was a war hero with a fiery temper who transformed the role of the president. He was also a slaveholder and a key figure in the forced relocation of Native Americans. Kittell maintains the new exhibit won’t flinch from the uglier parts of Jackson’s life.
The new display will open to the public Jan. 8, the bicentennial of Jackson’s victory at Battle of New Orleans.
Two other presidential homes, Mount Vernon and Monticello, have made similar changes. Directors from both of those museums acted as consultants to The Hermitage.