A Tennessee Waltz: Looking Back

While football fans packed every corner of Lower Broadway, a more politically minded crowd gathered at the State Capitol for A Tennessee Waltz, the annual black-tie fundraiser of the Tennessee State Museum. Seeing as how the museum’s dazzling new location opened last fall at Bicentennial Mall, there was much to celebrate at the gala, and given the recent elections, there were many new faces in the crowd, including our newly elected governor Bill Lee.Fashion designer Pat Kerr Tigrett, who has volunteered with the museum since 2002, came in from Memphis to chair the event, bringing a lively group of Memphians along for the festivities. “I’m just so excited, humbled and honored to be here,” she said. But her time to orchestrate the event wasn’t the only thing she generously donated. During dinner, she announced that she would be bequeathing the museum the bridal gown she designed for supermodel Paulina Porizkova to wear in the Estée Lauder Beautiful perfume campaign in the late '80s.

Following dinner, Executive Director Ashley Howell emphasized just how successful the museum has been since moving into its new location in October, noting that the six-month visitor numbers have doubled (up to 100,000!) and that the museum has hosted more than 20,000 students from 74 counties across Tennessee. The governor heaped even more praise on the museum for “preserving the legacy and the history of this remarkable state we're all a part of” before reminding everyone that his family has been in the state for 220 years. “I'm as proud as anyone to be a Tennessean, but I'm most proud because of the people that have gone before us to create what it is that we enjoy today,” he said.Fortunately, the Tennessee State Museum will continue to protect and preserve the history of the state, allowing generations to learn from the past as they look toward the future.