Conference Theme

At the 2023 TAM Annual Conference in Memphis, TAM's keynote speaker Jeff Kollath, Executive Director of the Stax Museum, told a story about why the Stax Foundation chose to focus on preserving the story of Stax and the stories of the people who lived in its community. He said, “If we don’t do it, who will?” When the TAM Board of Directors was in the early stages of planning the 2024 TAM Annual Conference, Kollath's words kept coming to the surface. TAM decided to take his story as a challenge . . . IF NOT US, THEN WHO?

    • Who will preserve the buildings in Tennessee's town?
    • Who will show the work of local artists to the public?
    • Who will capture the stories of all the people who make up Tennessee's cities and counties?
    • Who will take care of the art and artifacts in the possession of Tennessee's museums?
    • Who will educate school kids about the history of their hometown?
    • Who will advocate for financial resources for Tennessee museums?
    • Who will promote the good work being carried out by museums of all sizes in Tennessee?

IF NOT US, THEN WHO? thus became TAM's rallying cry as the membership gathered at Murfreesboro, the geographic center of Tennessee.

Inaugural TAM Museum Advocacy Day

The conference began on Monday, March 18 with a training session to prepare TAM members for visits to their state senators and representatives. The half-day workshop introduced pending legislation and issues impacting Tennessee’s museums. Then, on Tuesday morning, March 19, TAM members traveled to Nashville to hold meetings with their legislators and to promote Tennessee museums.

Program Highlights

Keynote Speakers

  • If Not Us, Then Who?James R. "Mickey" Gwen, Black History Museum of Warren County, and Liz Bennett and Randall Clemons, Granville Museums, moderated by Bethany Hawkins, AASLH
  • All of Us: Planning for Tennessee's Commemoration for America 250 in 2026Dr. Warren Dockter, East Tennessee Historical Society, and Ashley Howell, Tennessee State Museum
  • America's 250 and CommemorationJohn Dichtl, AASLH

Sites Visited

In Memorium

  • Gail Anderson, Englewood Textile Museum

  • Robert Booker, Beck Cultural Exchange Center
  • Keithlin "Duke" Durkee, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
  • Bob McFarland, Mid-South Military Museum

  • Capt. Larry Taylor, National Medal of Honor Heritage Center

  • Carole Wahler, guest curator
  • Leah WalkerTAM Board of Director, Chair of Awards Committee
  • Gene Williams, Birthplace of Country Music Museum

TAM Scholarship Winners

Each year TAM awards three scholarships to its annual conference. One qualified recipient represents each of the three main regions of Tennessee. TAM established this scholarship program to encourage students to enter the museum field, to promote museum studies in Tennessee’s higher education institutions, and to provide networking opportunities for new museum professionals.

EastAnastacia Managan, University of Tennessee, Knoxville  

MiddleValeria Eadler, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro

WestC. Rose Smith, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis  

Humanities Tennessee Scholarship Winners

Every March since 2003, Humanities Tennessee has offered a scholarship program to support attendance at the TAM Annual Conference. This initiative stems from a commitment to provide opportunities for professional and organizational development of Tennessee’s museums and humanities community.

TAM Presidents Award

Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, in partnership with the John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library, Fisk University, Nashville

Temporary ExhibitBuilding a Bright Future: Black Communities and Rosenwald Schools in Tennessee


Special EventBuilding Community, Continuing a Legacy: A Rosenwald Schools of Tennessee Symposium

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