Thanks to Generous Support, Discovery Park’s Canstruction Returns Bigger Than Ever

Thanks to Generous Support, Discovery Park’s Canstruction Returns Bigger Than Ever

Union City, Tenn.Discovery Park of America will once again host Canstruction, an international charity competition where architects, engineers, contractors, teachers and the students they mentor compete to design and build giant structures made from full cans of food.

Thanks to generous support from Carol and Bill Latimer, Ben E. Keith Foods, Westan Insurance Group and Forcum Lannom Materials, Discovery Park is able to increase the number of cans purchased for the competition and 12 student teams will be able to compete. This is the largest number of teams competing since Discovery Park first began participating in 2017.

At the close of the competition, the cans are donated to food banks local to the event. Canstruction was founded in 1992 by Cheri Melillo and has since raised millions of pounds of food for food banks in participating cities across the world. With more than 170 cities and over 30,000 volunteers participating in Canstruction competitions, it has grown to become one of the largest food drives for food bank donations in the world.

The sculptures created by the student teams at Discovery Park’s competition will be on display at Discovery Park through November 2021 and then will be donated to Chimes for Charity, Helping Hands and Reelfoot Rural Ministries in Obion County, Tenn. and Matthew 25:40 in Dyer County, Tenn.

Student teams design their sculptures ahead of time and are given a budget of $500 to purchase the cans they will use to build their creation. On Oct. 29, 2021, the students will arrive at Discovery Park where each team will be assigned a space and allotted three hours to create their sculpture. A luncheon and awards ceremony will take place after the competition.

“This event is special for all of us at Discovery Park for many reasons,” said Polly Brasher, the museum and park’s director of education. “Not only is it always amazing to see the students’ creations, the idea of bringing this to our region came from the late Jenny Kirkland, wife of Discovery Park founder Robert Kirkland after she saw it taking place in Memphis. She very much loved this event and seeing what the talented young people created.”

Teachers interested in applying to participate with their student group should fill out the online application as soon as possible as this competition is available to the first 12 who apply.

Photo Caption: The winners of the 2019 Canstruction, NWTN Homeschool Group, with their sculpture.

‘Once Upon a Pumpkin’ at Discovery Park to Feature an Enchanted World of Fairy Tales Made from Pumpkins, Hay Bales and Fall Flowers

‘Once Upon a Pumpkin’ at Discovery Park to Feature an Enchanted World of Fairy Tales Made from Pumpkins, Hay Bales and Fall Flowers

Union City, Tenn. –Discovery Park of America has announced “Once Upon a Pumpkin” will be the theme for this year’s Pumpkin Village. Open during the month of October, “Once Upon a Pumpkin” will enchant guests with an entire village of fairy tales created from more than 40,000 pounds of pumpkins enhanced by hay bales and fall flowers like chrysanthemums and pansies.

Sponsors of 2021 Pumpkin Village at Discovery Park are Allen Searcy Builder Contractor, Commercial Bank and Trust Company and Williams Country Sausage.

Already under construction are sections featuring the stories of “The Three Little Pigs,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and other classic children’s stories.

Another popular activity returning for this year’s event is the Pumpkin Maze.

“Of course, we love keeping Discovery Park looking beautiful all year round, but Pumpkin Village is a fun opportunity for us to get really creative,” said John Watkins, Discovery Park’s director of grounds and landscaping. “My team has been really excited about this year’s theme, and I think they’ve taken it to a whole new level.”

Discovery Park’s pumpkins have been grown by Nanney Farms Pumpkin Patch in Sharon, Tenn. Featured will be many varieties of pumpkins including Jack-O-Lantern, Cannonball, mini pumpkins and an assortment of other specialty pumpkins and gourds.

“Once Upon a Pumpkin” is free with museum admission. In October, Discovery Park and “Once Upon a Pumpkin” are open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Discovery Park and “Once Upon a Pumpkin” are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in October.

For more information about Discovery Park of America, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com.

Photo Caption: A past Pumpkin Village at Discovery Park of America

Cabin Conservation Project Begins at Discovery Park of America

Cabin Conservation Project Begins at Discovery Park of America

Union City, Tenn. –During their celebration of David Crockett’s 235th birthday on Saturday, Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tenn., announced a project to restore a dozen structures in the museum and heritage park’s Settlement. When complete, the project that is being funded by the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation will cost more than $500,000 and will take nearly a year.

The collection of hand-hewn log buildings resembles what one might have found in a mid-nineteenth century frontier settlement shortly after Crockett settled in the area. The Settlement is on the North Lake at Discovery Park and includes farmhouses, a corn crib, tool barn, smokehouse, hog barn, loom house, doctor’s cabin, livestock barn and woodshed.

All the buildings were generously donated to Discovery Park by families from around the region and were moved to the Settlement before Discovery Park opened in 2013. While great care was taken when they were moved and put back together on the 50-acre heritage park at the time, work is now being done to ensure they will remain in the best possible shape for decades to come.

Leatherwood, Inc. was selected to handle the cabin conservation for the park.

“We felt Leatherwood’s understanding of historic processes and architecture and their experience restoring similar structures made them an obvious choice for this project,” said Jennifer Wildes, senior director of exhibits for Discovery Park. “Their extensive resume includes
numerous presidential homes, national landmarks and monuments, private house museums as well as a long list of private historic residences.”

Leatherwood’s team will replace select logs that have decayed, patch damaged areas that could worsen over time, stabilize cabins that have shifted and waterproof all structures. All the issues will be addressed using traditional practices, including no screws, nails or dowels in the notches.

Leatherwood Inc. was founded in 1981 by Vic Hood to fill a void he saw in the construction and restoration field. As a graduate student at the University of Tennessee, he gained experience in documenting and recording historic structures. He later conducted building research for various state and federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hood developed a unique method of analyzing and addressing the needs of historic structures using modern technology.

“This is a wonderful collection of original cabins,” said Hood. “We’re taking great care to make certain the Settlement is here for Discovery Park’s guests to enjoy and learn from decades into the future.”

For more information about Discovery Park of America, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com.

Photo Caption: Winston King and John Spiva with Leatherwood, Inc. replacing logs as a part of the cabin conservation in the Settlement at Discovery Park of America.

David Crockett’s 235th Birthday Celebrated at Discovery Park with Programs, Music and Proclamation from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

David Crockett’s 235th Birthday Celebrated at Discovery Park with Programs, Music and Proclamation from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

More than 1,000 guests attended Saturday’s celebration of the life and career of David Crockett at Discovery Park for the occasion of his 235th birthday on Aug. 17. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee sent a proclamation from the state capital calling for a day of recognition for Crockett.

The folk hero, frontiersman, politician and Tennessee settler made his home in Northwest Tennessee from 1822 until he departed for the Alamo in 1835.

Demonstrations of arts and crafts from that era were shared by a variety of craftspeople throughout the park, and guests enjoyed tours of the pollinator gardens, vineyard and Innovation Farm. The museum’s educators presented programs on a variety of topics including the history of the geography of West Tennessee, Crockett’s relationship with Sam Houston, 1800s natural medical practices and the wildlife of West Tennessee during Crockett’s time in the region.

Discovery Park CEO, Scott Williams, who has released a book about Crockett, “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett,” hosted a panel discussion with guests Broadway actor Bart Shatto and educator Arthur W. Hunt III, PhD on the fame of David Crockett and his journey from frontier to icon.

One highlight of the day was the performance by Shatto, who is a member of the original Broadway casts of Tony-nominated “Hands on a Hardbody” and “The Civil War” and performed on Broadway in “War Paint” and “Les Misérables.” Shatto premiered selections from his new play, “The Life and Times of Davy Crockett,” that takes place in Memphis the night before Crockett departs Tennessee for Texas. Joining Shatto on stage for the performance that received a standing ovation, was Micah Barnes, Ken Robinson, Brent Hopper and Chloe Cook.

Crockett, known for his marksmanship, was one of the earliest non-Native American hunters around nearby Reelfoot Lake. A passionate advocate for the earliest settlers of West Tennessee, he served in the state legislature from 1821 to 1824, then as congressman representing West Tennessee counties in the United States House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831 and 1833 to 1835. He represented settlers making their homes in the counties of Carroll, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lawrence, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton, Wayne, and Weakley.

Visitors will find many ways to experience David Crockett at Discovery Park all year long. Included is a statue dedicated to the frontiersman, a congressional exhibit in Liberty Hall at Freedom Square, a reproduction of Crockett’s portrait by John Gadsby Chapman, the Regional History Gallery telling the story of Northwest Tennessee, a 20,0000-gallon aquarium and tanks featuring the wildlife of Reelfoot Lake, a one-of-a-kind Earthquake Simulator, the Native American Gallery, an 1800s Tennessee log cabin community, Mill Ridge featuring a working gristmill and forge and more.

Discover David Crockett at Discovery Park of America.

David Crockett’s 235th Birthday Celebration was sponsored by Dixie Gun Works.

Antique Tractor Show 2021

Antique Tractor Show 2021

This past weekend, hundreds of tractor enthusiasts from all over Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi loaded up their antique tractors to display at Discovery Park’s annual Antique Tractor Show. Over 200 tractors from various decades were showcased on the beautiful grounds of Discovery Park. Seeing the collectables from the early 1900s and hearing the stories behind the tractors is what makes this event unique.

On Friday night, guests were invited to gather in the Simmons Bank Ag Center for the free movie viewing of “SILO.” The movie showing was hosted by Tennessee Farm Bureau, Tennessee AgrAbility and the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads.

On Saturday, thousands of guests joined us at Discovery Park for food trucks, live bluegrass music and a live tractor auction. Tractors were judged on several categories including Best in Show, Most Unique, Best Hit and Miss, Traveled Farthest and Best Garden Tractor. To end the show, tractors lined up for parade around the entire park as guests cheered on their favorites.

“This year’s Antique Tractor Show was larger than ever, with over 200 participants with antique tractors, garden tractors and hit & miss engines,” said Karl Johnson, a director at Discovery Park. “This event is my favorite of the year, and we plan to capitalize on the success of this year’s show to make the 2022 Antique Tractor Show bigger and better.”

Mark your calendars for the 2022 Antique Tractor Show that will be held on August 5 and 6.

Stay up-to-date on everything happening at Discovery Park by checking the calendar on our website, subscribing to our e-newsletter and following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sponsored by: Blue Bank Resort and First Farm Choice Farm & Lawn: Kubota

Clare Saum Returns to Discovery Park of America as Director of Marketing

Clare Saum Returns to Discovery Park of America as Director of Marketing

Union City, Tenn.Discovery Park of America has announced Clare Saum, a former intern with the organization, has joined the leadership team as director of marketing. She is managing marketing, public relations and promotions for the museum and heritage park.

Saum has returned to West Tennessee after living in Huntsville, Ala., for three years. While in Huntsville, she was the marketing and events coordinator for Kids to Love, a non-profit serving children living in foster care.

“Clare returns to Discovery Park with eight years of marketing and advertising experience working in a variety of industries,” said Scott Williams, Discovery Park’s president and CEO. “I’m thrilled she is able to bring that experience back home, and she is already making a big contribution here at Discovery Park.”

Saum has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in marketing from University of Tennessee at Martin. It was while attending UT Martin that she worked as a marketing intern at Discovery Park. She has also worked in media advertising at WZDX in Huntsville and WPSD in Paducah, Ky.

As an active member of the Rotary Club of Madison in Alabama, Saum was recently named chair-elect and is eager to get involved with local civic clubs now that she has returned to Northwest Tennessee.

“I am so excited to be returning home to Obion County,” said Saum. “And since I grew up on a fifth-generation family farm, I am especially excited about the new agriculture exhibit and the importance Discovery Park places on innovation.”

For more information about Discovery Park of America, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com or call 731-885-5455.

Photo Caption: Clare Saum joins Discovery Park of America as Marketing Director. 

Union City, Tenn., Firefighters Invite Other Rescue Workers to Memorial Stair Climb at Discovery Park on the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Union City, Tenn., Firefighters Invite Other Rescue Workers to Memorial Stair Climb at Discovery Park on the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Union City, Tenn. –Local Union City firefighters will once again be partnering with Discovery Park of America to host the annual stair climb on Sat., Sept. 11, 2021, as a way to pay tribute to those who were lost in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Because this year marks the 20th anniversary of the attack, organizers anticipate a large number of firefighters, police, EMS and military personnel from throughout the region to join them at the Union City, Tenn., museum and heritage park.

Discovery Park also recently announced that for the month of September, the museum will be hosting a temporary exhibit, “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World.”

The tower stair climb, held in conjunction with The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, is open to any rescue worker who wishes to participate in climbing the Discovery Park Tower staircase 10 times in full gear, the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. The terrorist attacks killed 2,184 civilians, 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement officers and 10 EMS workers. Many others have died from medical complications in the years since.

“Many of us who witnessed the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks also remember the way we came together as a nation afterward,” said Fire Chief Karl Ullrich of the Union City Fire Department. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to come together again to honor the fallen heroes and raise critical funds for the NFFF.”

The mission of the NFFF is to honor and remember America’s fallen fire heroes, to provide resources to assist their families in rebuilding their lives and work within the Fire Service Community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.

Those who have purchased a ticket to Discovery Park that day are welcome to watch and encourage the firefighters as they climb the stairs. Once the last firefighter has completed the climb, there will be a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives.

Climbers will be given an identification tag and photo of a first responder that lost their life on 9/11 as they climb the steps, and the stairwell will be filled with posters and words of encouragement from Union City and Obion County students.

The immediate families of participating firefighters will enjoy free admission to Discovery Park. Firefighters will receive a voucher for a meal at one of the museum and park’s restaurants.

The opening ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature the Presentation of the Colors, National Anthem and an opening prayer. The climb will begin at 10 a.m. Registration is now open. For more information, to register, to sponsor a rescue worker or team or to participate as a sponsor, visit the event’s landing page or contact Lt. Rick Stacks at rdstacks73@gmail.com or call (731) 885-2232.

The temporary exhibit, “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World,” recounts the events of September 11, 2001, through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks. Told across 14 posters, this exhibition includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s permanent collection. It will be on display through the month of Sept. 2021.

For more information about Discovery Park of America, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com.

Photo Caption: Left to right – David Hazzard, J.D. Davis and Shawn Denton representing Trenton, Tenn. Volunteer Fire Department at a previous 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Discovery Park of America.

Discovery Park of America to Host Temporary Exhibit in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Discovery Park of America to Host Temporary Exhibit in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Union City, Tenn.Discovery Park of America will be one of the host locations for a temporary exhibit, “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World.” The exhibit recounts the events of September 11, 2001, through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks. Told across 14 posters, this exhibition includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s permanent collection. It will be on display during the month of September 2021.

Additionally, local Union City firefighters will once again be partnering with Discovery Park on Sept. 11, 2021, to host the annual 9/11 Stair Climb, held in conjunction with The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, as a way to pay tribute to those who were lost in the terrorist attacks. Because this year marks the 20th anniversary of the attack, organizers anticipate a large number of firefighters, police, EMS and military personnel from throughout the region to join them at the Union City, Tenn., museum and heritage park.

“September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World” will be located in Art Hall at the museum. It presents the history of 9/11, its origins and its ongoing implications.

“Twenty years after the attacks, with terrorism still a threat today, the events of 9/11 and its aftermath remind us that we may never be able to prevent all the actions of people intent on harming others, but we do have control over how we respond to such events,” said Jennifer Wildes, Discovery Park’s senior director of collections and exhibits. “Whether by volunteering in our local communities, serving our nation in the military, caring for the sick or through other efforts, all of us can help build the world in which we want to live.”

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, killed 2,184 civilians, 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement officers and 10 EMS workers. Many others have died from medical complications in the years since.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is located in New York City on the sight where the Twin Towers sat before the attack. It offers visitors the ability to learn factual information about the events, the unprecedented rescue and recovery operations and the rebuilding of both Lower Manhattan and of people’s lives. The Museum presents videos, artifacts and “Person to Person History,” linking visitors who want to understand the historic events of 9/11 with those who experienced them.

The temporary exhibit provided by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum will be on display at Discovery Park through September 2021 and is free with admission or membership.

For more information about Discovery Park of America, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com.

Discovery Park Opens Temporary Exhibit, “40 CHANCES: Finding Hope in a Hungry World: The Photography of Howard G. Buffett”

Discovery Park Opens Temporary Exhibit, “40 CHANCES: Finding Hope in a Hungry World: The Photography of Howard G. Buffett”

Union City, Tenn. – On Wed., July 21, 2021, Discovery Park of America will open a new temporary exhibit, “40 CHANCES: Finding Hope in a Hungry World: The Photography of Howard G. Buffett” in the ATA Traveling Exhibit Hall. The exhibit is free with park admission or membership.

“40 CHANCES: Finding Hope in a Hungry World” was developed by the Newseum in collaboration with Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The Newseum is an affiliate of the Freedom Forum, whose mission is to foster First Amendment freedoms for all. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation is the exclusive sponsor of the “40 CHANCES: Finding Hope in a Hungry World” exhibit.

Philanthropist and photographer Howard G. Buffett turned his camera lens on global hunger and poverty with this exhibit of photographs. Traveling to 137 countries over the past two decades, Buffett has documented the powerful forces that keep poverty and hunger alive as part of a global campaign to raise awareness of these issues. Buffett believes that each of us has about 40 chances to accomplish our life goals, just as farmers have about 40 growing seasons to improve their harvests. The photographs in “40 CHANCES” reflect his belief that hunger is intertwined with poverty, fear, war and conflict, and lack of opportunity for women.

“Howard G. Buffett’s photographs give faces to the statistics of nearly 800 million people around the world who live with chronic hunger,” said Scott Williams, president and CEO of Discovery Park. “We hope that visitors will walk away from the exhibit reminded of the need for innovation in agriculture to help solve problems like chronic hunger.”

The exhibit features photographic prints arranged in seven themed sections focusing on hunger, poverty, water, women, guns, fear and hope. An additional section focuses on Buffett’s mission to end world hunger. A tactile graphic shows that hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined — three of the top killers in the developing world.

Also included is an interactive kiosk that highlights several organizations working to make a difference around the world, from Feeding America — the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization — to the U.N.’s World Food Program. For more of the story behind the exhibit, guests will enjoy a video of Buffett discussing his work and his campaign to end world hunger.

On Dec. 5 of last year, Discovery Park opened a new permanent exhibit on agriculture called “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival” in the Simmons Bank Ag Center and will be introducing a new pollinator garden tour this fall. Museum officials felt this exhibit of photographs by Buffet was another way to bring attention to the importance of agriculture around the world.

“40 CHANCES: Finding Hope in a Hungry World: The Photography of Howard G. Buffett” will be on display July 21 – Sept. 6, 2021.

For a complete schedule of exhibits, events and all the details you need to plan your visit, go to DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com.

Photo Caption: Senior director of exhibits, Jennifer Wildes, installing Discovery Park’s latest temporary exhibit, “40 CHANCES.”

Debra Craig Joins Discovery Park of America as Director of Finance

Debra Craig Joins Discovery Park of America as Director of Finance

Union City, Tenn. – Discovery Park of America has announced that Debra Craig, an experienced financial professional, has joined the organization’s leadership team as director of finance. She will manage the business-and finance-related functions of Discovery Park.

Craig has a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a major in finance and a Master of Science in education leadership from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She has most recently been working at UT Martin as a resource specialist with the Department of Educational Studies within the College of Education, Health and Behavioral Sciences.

Before joining UT Martin, Craig worked as a municipal administrator. Prior to that, she held staff accountant positions at the Dyer County Courthouse and Honeywell Consumer Products. Craig has over 20 years of experience in public administration, including financial management and grant administration for NGOs.

She is active in various non-profits including serving as vice president of the Dyersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., which conducts community service projects in Obion County, and vice president of the Obion County/Union City branch of NAACP, Inc. She has also served as project manager of N73RED, Inc., mentor in the UTM mentorship collaborative, member of National Society of Leadership and Success and advisor for Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity.

“Debra is an extraordinary leader with a proven track record and background developing financial strategies that enhance the work of non-profit organizations like Discovery Park,” said Scott Williams, president and CEO. “I’m thrilled she has decided to join our team, and I look forward to working with her as we implement our mission to inspire children and adults to see beyond.”

Craig is a graduate of Obion County Leadership and the Certified Municipal Finance Officer program administered by the UT Institute for Public Service. She is also a volunteer for the Delta Academy Youth Initiative, Union City football, Trudy’s Kids Café and various community music ministries.

For more information about Discovery Park of America, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com or call 731-885-5455.

Photo Caption: Debra Craig joins Discovery Park as Director of Finance. 

Discovery Park Announces David Crockett 235th Birthday Celebration on Aug. 14, 2021 Includes Free Admission for Residents of West Tennessee

Discovery Park Announces David Crockett 235th Birthday Celebration on Aug. 14, 2021 Includes Free Admission for Residents of West Tennessee

Union City, Tenn. – Discovery Park of America has announced details for a celebration of the 235th birthday of David Crockett on Sat., Aug. 14, 2021. The folk hero, frontiersman, politician and Tennessee settler made his home in Northwest Tennessee from 1822 until he departed for the Alamo in 1835.

The celebration is sponsored by Dixie Gun Works and residents of all 21 counties in West Tennessee will enjoy free admission.

Discovery Park CEO, Scott Williams, has released a book about Crockett, “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett.” He will be hosting a panel discussion that day with guests Broadway actor Bart Shatto and educator Arthur W. Hunt III, Ph.D.

Shatto is a member of the original Broadway casts of Tony-nominated “Hands on a Hardbody” and “The Civil War.” He has also been seen on Broadway in ‘War Paint,” in the iconic role of Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” and he originated the role of Quincey Morris in “Dracula.” Shatto and a team are currently working on a new play, “Davy Crockett: In Concert,” that takes place in Memphis the night before he departs for Texas. Shatto will also be performing at Discovery Park of Aug. 14.

Dr. Hunt is professor of Mass Media and Strategic Communication at the University of Tennessee at Martin where he teaches public speaking related courses. For three years, he performed a living history program for Tennessee state parks, schools and other venues called, “The Story of Davy Crockett as told by Himself.”

Throughout the day, guests will be able to experience Crockett and learn more about his contribution to West Tennessee with panel discussions, performances and activities taking place throughout the museum and park.

Crockett, known for his marksmanship, was one of the earliest non-Native American hunters around nearby Reelfoot Lake. A passionate advocate for the earliest settlers of West Tennessee, he served in state legislature from 1821 to 1824, then as congressman representing West Tennessee counties in the United States House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831 and 1833 to 1835. He represented settlers making their homes in the counties of Carroll, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lawrence, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton, Wayne and Weakley.

Residents of all the counties listed, along with Benton, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Lake and Lauderdale that were formed later, will receive free admission on Sat., Aug. 14 with a valid Tennessee driver’s license or other form of identification noting a residence in one of the listed counties.

“David Crockett’s 235th birthday provides a great opportunity for us to spotlight his relationship with West Tennessee and his impact on popular culture of his day. He was both literally and symbolically a ‘common man,’ and that role grew more important as governing the country shifted away the educated eastern elites to regular working-class Americans,” said Scott Williams. “He also blazed a trail representing an exciting, new type of American that thrilled early media and entertainment consumers. He made them excited about what could be found down the river or just over the next mountain, and that popularity resulted in a level of fame not yet experienced by anyone else at that time.”

Other presentations will take place throughout the day on a variety of topics relating to Crockett and his life and career in Tennessee. There will also be craftspeople demonstrating work done during that period and opportunities to learn more about the wildlife of Northwest Tennessee during the time Crockett lived here.

Visitors will find many ways to experience David Crockett at Discovery Park all year long. Included is a statue dedicated to the frontiersman, a congressional exhibit in Liberty Hall at Freedom Square, a reproduction of Crockett’s portrait by John Gadsby Chapman, the Regional History Gallery telling the story of Northwest Tennessee, a 20,000-gallon aquarium and tanks featuring the wildlife of Reelfoot Lake, a one-of-a-kind Earthquake Simulator, the Native American Gallery, an 1800s Tennessee log cabin community, Mill Ridge featuring a working gristmill and forge and more.

To make the celebration even sweeter, Sabin’s Café at Discovery Park is giving a free mini cupcake to the first 235 guests who request one in honor of Crockett’s 235th birthday.

David Crockett 235th Birthday Celebration Schedule

Throughout the day:

Craftspeople – Weaving, woodworking, wickerwork and other demonstrations in the 1800s Settlement and Mill Ridge.

Wildlife – Experience the wildlife of Northwest Tennessee at the touch table in the Regional History Gallery.

11:00 a.m. – The Political Geography of West Tennessee

Nathaniel Newlin will explore the history of the political boundaries of the local, regional and federal jurisdictions that have existed within West Tennessee over time and how the 21 counties west of the Tennessee River came to embody the political and cultural distinctions of the Grand Division.

12:00 p.m. – Tennessee to Texas: The Ballad of David and Sam

More than ships passing in the night, Sam Houston and David Crockett share a bond of historical congruence that cannot be understated. In this program, Nathaniel Newlin will explore the movement that brought both Houston and Crockett to Texas and how their legacies diverged into refined aristocrat and rowdy folk legend, respectively.

1:00 p.m. – The Accidental Fame of  David Crockett

Scott Williams explores how Crockett rose from the Tennessee frontier to international icon with panelists Bart Shatto and Dr. Arthur Hunt.

2:00 p.m. – 1800s Medical Practices and Home Remedies

Focusing on the medically purposed plants found in the Heritage Garden, Zach Rea will elucidate antiquated methods of treating illness and injury in the 19th century.

2:30 p.m. – Frontier Wildlife

Join Aquarium and Wildlife Manager Corbin Ekberg in the Trapper’s Cabin to explore how animal habitats and distributions have changed since the days of Crockett, as well as the hunting and husbandry practices that epitomized the 19th century frontier.

3:00 p.m. – Bart Shatto Performance

Select portions of “Davy Crockett: In Concert” by Broadway performer Bart Shatto.

For complete details and the most up-to-date list of activities for David Crockett’s 235th Birthday Celebration, visit Discovery Park’s online calendar of events.

Photo Caption: The exhibit on the life and career of David Crockett at Discovery Park includes more about his time in West Tennessee.

Photo Caption: One of the panels from the exhibit about David Crockett’s life and career on display at Discovery Park. Crockett made West Tennessee his home from 1822 until he left for Texas in 1835.

Free Admission to Other Museums for Discovery Park of America Members

Free Admission to Other Museums for Discovery Park of America Members

Union City, Tenn.Discovery Park of America has announced two new partnerships that will provide Discovery Park members free or discounted admission to other museums around the country.

Discovery Park is now a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) Travel Passport Program and the Southeastern Reciprocal Membership Program (SERM) of the Southeastern Museums Conference.

The ASTC is a professional membership organization with a vision of increasing understanding of — and engagement with — science and technology among all people. Additionally, the organization champions and supports science and technology centers and museums around the country. As part of the ASTC Travel Passport Program, members of Discovery Park are eligible for benefits such as free general admission and/or other discounts at participating science museums.

The Southeastern Museums Conference is an association of museums, museum staff, independent professionals and corporate partners. Their focus is on supporting museums in the Southeastern United States. As part of the SERM program, Discovery Park members receive free admission during museum hours, the same discount on purchases made in the gift shop or café as the host museum members and the same discount on purchases made on the premises for concert and lecture tickets as the host museum members.

Members of all participating museums in ASTC and SERM will also receive free admission to Discovery Park of America.

“As with any museum or heritage park like Discovery Park, members are a vital part of our organization,” said Chris Armstrong, a member of the Discovery Park membership team. “We thought this would be a great additional benefit for our museum’s members while introducing those in other areas to Discovery Park and our mission to inspire children and adults to see beyond.”

Discovery Park recently implemented a new program, overseen by Armstrong, that provides a digital membership card that can be printed or saved on a member’s computer or phone.

Discovery Park members can search for museums participating in ASTC or SERM in advance of their visits to other museums.

Members should always call or email before visiting participating museums to verify participation and to inquire about any special circumstances. Discovery Park members should also be sure to have a printed or digital copy of their new membership card that includes both the SERM and ASTC logos. At some participating museums, ID is also required.

Discovery Park offers a variety of membership levels including individual, family and lifetime memberships. Join or renew your Discovery Park membership online at DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com/members, call 731-885-5455 or email memberships@discoveryparkofamerica.com.