A Tennessee Waltz Returns to the State Capitol

After 18 months of postponements, the Tennessee State Museum Foundation was delighted to return to the State Capitol for A Tennessee Waltz. Local and state lawmakers, as well as history buffs and fans of the museum, came together for the black-tie affair — co-chaired by mother-son duo Anne Cain and Austin Pennington — to raise funds for the museum.

The rain cleared just in time for the party, allowing many to spend the cocktail hour on the balcony overlooking Bicentennial Mall and the Tennessee State Museum’s new permanent home. Guests enjoyed cocktails and passed Champagne and wine as they snacked on a giant cheese and charcuterie board and posed for photos in the breathtaking library.

After the dinner bell rang, guests filed downstairs for the seated dinner, where Ming Wang performed “A Tennessee Waltz” on the erhu, the first of the night’s two renditions of the state song. Following the meal, Tennessee State Museum Executive Director Ashley Howell took the podium to welcome guests and thank them for their support. Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, the museum still managed to produce an exceptional exhibition celebrating the centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote, Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote, that was complemented with digital programming and an online exhibit. They also launched online resources, virtual programming and virtual field trips to serve students, teachers and families across the state. Ashley touted the opening of the new Tennessee State Library and Archives and thanked all for their support, which allows “the heart and soul of Tennessee to be shared in extraordinary ways every day.”

Ashley introduced the governor, who shared his heartfelt thanks for everyone’s commitment to remembering and preserving Tennessee’s history, especially this year as Tennessee celebrates its 225th anniversary as a state. The governor invited everyone back upstairs to enjoy yet another performance of “A Tennessee Waltz” and dancing to the tunes of the Pat Patrick Band — a celebratory end to a successful night.