Press Release: Miss Kentucky 2022, Haley Wheeler, Added to Ag Day 2022 at Discovery Park of America

Miss Kentucky 2022, Haley Wheeler, Added to Ag Day 2022 at Discovery Park of America

Union City, Tenn.— Haley Wheeler, Miss Kentucky 2022, has been added to the schedule of events for Ag Day 2022 at Discovery Park of America on March 22. She will be assisting in ag safety protocol demonstrations with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Turtle PlasticsTennessee AgrAbility and the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads.

Wheeler serves as the official spokesperson for the Kentucky Proud initiative.

Joining Wheeler will be Dale Dobson, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s safety administrator, who will be spotlighting road safety with a tractor demonstration. He will also be educating those in attendance about grain safety using Turtle Plastics’ Turtle Tube Grain Bin Rescue Sleeve. The rescue sleeve is one of the items on display in Discovery Park’s exhibit, “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival.”

“I am so excited about the opportunity to share the message of farm safety with those at Discovery Park for Ag Day,” said Dobson. “Because our demonstrations are unique, we frequently hear they make a big impact on those who see them.”

Also participating in the event are more than 25 other organizations, educators and individuals who will be sharing the impact of agriculture and potential careers in the field with the hundreds of students planning to attend.

Attendees are also invited to the ground-breaking ceremony of Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion and Greenhouses that will take place that day at 11 a.m.

Students in groups will receive free admission to Ag Day 2022. For more information, email education@discoveryparkofameriva.com or call Sheridan at 731-599-1132.

Photo Caption: Miss Kentucky 2022, Haley Wheeler

Press Release: Discovery Park Installs Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Discovery Park Installs Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Union City, Tenn.— Discovery Park of America today unveiled four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations that will allow visitors to fully charge their vehicles while they visit the museum and heritage park in Union City, Tenn.

Thanks in part to support from Union City Energy Authority, the museum and heritage park was able to install four, level two EV charging stations onsite. These will supply up to 25 miles of distance for each hour the chargers are plugged into the vehicles. The chargers are located in the lower south parking lot behind The Train Depot and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis during Discovery Park’s regular operating hours and during special events

“Those of us at Discovery Park are always looking for ways to contribute to a reduction in our carbon footprint and provide services our guests are looking for,” said Scott Williams, president and CEO of Discovery Park. “We are very grateful for Union City Energy Authority’s generous support of this project so we could make it happen for visitors to Obion County.”

These chargers will be filling a need for EV charging stations as currently there are only two in Union City and two in nearby Martin, Tenn.

One of the other charging stations in Union City is located at the offices of Pediatric Place of Union City. Dr. John Bates, founder of Pediatric Place, has driven an electric vehicle for many years and worked with Discovery Park on their charging stations.

“I know how often visitors to our area stop at Pediatric Place to charge their cars,” said Dr. Bates. “I’m grateful to see Discovery Park is working to make this a better, brighter and greener community.”

Over the next several decades, the U.S. will change over largely to zero-emission vehicles if global climate goals are to be met. Currently, electric vehicles make up only a small portion of the automobiles sold worldwide, but that is changing quickly. According to BloomburgNEF, sales are now growing due to a combination of policy support, improvements in battery technology and cost, more chargers like the ones at Discovery Park being built and new models coming from automakers.

For example, Ford Motor Company recently announced a planned automotive assembly complex about 80 miles south of Discovery Park in Haywood County, Tenn. Blue Oval City will be operated by Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation, and is expected to be operational in 2025. The facility will primarily consist of an automotive assembly plant that will produce electric Ford F-150 Lightening pickup trucks and a plant that will manufacture electric vehicle batteries, as well as a battery recycling facility, suppliers and a training center.

Visitors with electric cars can find Discovery Park’s charging stations on the Plugshare and ChargeHub apps and other places chargers are listed.

Photo Caption: Dr. John Bates, founder of Pediatric Place of Union City, tests the electric vehicle charging stations at Discovery Park of America.

Press Release: ‘Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure’ Coming to Discovery Park of America

‘Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure’ Coming to Discovery Park of America

Union City, Tenn.— “Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure” will be making its debut in Tennessee at Discovery Park of America in the museum’s ATA Temporary Exhibit Hall June 18, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023.

The exhibit, created by Imagine Exhibitions, Inc. in partnership with The Franklin Institute, features eight galleries, each inspired by different visionaries from the Victorian Age and focused on how their philosophy, art, innovation and science have shaped our world today.

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction inspired by the Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style and art, along with a celebration of 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.

Authors featured are: Mary Shelley, the English novelist who wrote the Gothic novel “Frankenstein;” Jules Verne, the French novelist, poet and playwright who wrote bestselling adventure novels including “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas” and “Around the World in Eighty Days;” and H.G. Wells, the science fiction author who wrote “The Time Machine,” “War of the Worlds” and “The Invisible Man” and who is often remembered today as the “father of science fiction.”

Along with the visionary authors, the exhibit features four influential Victorian-era inventors: Isaac Singer, who developed the sewing machine; Thomas Blanchard, who worked on automation and the first automobiles; George Eastman, who helped popularize photography; and Jan Matzeliger, the son of a Surinamese slave, whose inventions made decent footwear accessible to the masses.

Tom Zaller, President and CEO of Imagine Exhibitions, said of the exhibition, “The steampunk movement contains so many concepts that are vital for young people to learn: engineering, artistry, innovation and collaboration to name a few. I am proud of the Imagine Exhibitions team for putting together such an engaging exhibition that ties these concepts together — using the fun and fanciful steampunk aesthetic as the central theme to inspire guests to think differently about the past, present and future.”

The exhibit uses steampunk to provide a fun opportunity for children and adults to experience the humanities, science, technology, engineering, art and math. It includes robotics, photography, automation and sculpture along with a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning.

“Having ‘Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure’ at Discovery Park is the perfect way to further the vision of the museum’s late founder, Robert Kirkland,” said Scott Williams, Discovery Park’s CEO. “On opening day, Robert Kirkland shared that he hoped in the future, guests would arrive for each visit with an expectation that they would experience innovation presented in a fun way. This exhibit certainly does that.”

The exhibit is also designed with school groups and teachers in mind. An educator guide composed of 16 activities is available for teachers to make a field trip to Discovery Park even more meaningful. Included are activities that cover a variety of performance standards for students in grades three through eight.  Thanks to the Kirkland Scholarship, students from all K-12 schools with 50% of the students qualifying for free or reduced lunches qualify for a scholarship that pays for 100% of the ticket price to visit Discovery Park and experience this exhibit.

“Everyone in the education department at Discovery Park is passionate about helping teachers ignite and inspire the next generation of critical thinkers, problem solvers and innovators,” said Polly Brasher, Discovery Park’s senior director of education and guest experience. “This one-of-a-kind exhibit provides an opportunity for us to do what we do best.”

Teachers and administrators wishing to book a school group should download Discovery Park’s Student Group Planning Guide, e-mail reservations@discoveryparkofamerica.com or call reservations at 731-885-5455, option 6.

“Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure” is free with park admission or membership and will be at Discovery Park June 18, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023. Visit DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com to plan your visit.

Press Release: Discovery Park of America Presents Awards at the 2022 Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Awards Gala and Fundraiser

Discovery Park of America Presents Awards at the 2022 Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Awards Gala and Fundraiser

Union City, Tenn.— On Saturday evening, March 5, Discovery Park of America honored four individuals who, like the museum and heritage park, bring enlightenment, awareness and education to those whose lives they have touched.

The Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Awards Gala was attended by a sold-out crowd of 350 who joined Discovery Park in celebrating the award recipients, all of whom have deep roots in the region. The 2022 Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Award recipients were:

  • Anita Kay Archer
  • LtGen John (Glad) Castellaw USMC (Ret)
  • Dr. Ron Kirkland
  • Jerry Reese

More than $100,000 was raised to benefit the museum and heritage park. During the “Fund-a-Need” segment, gifts were raised for the Kirkland Scholarship Fund that provides free admission for students from all K-12 schools with 50% of the students qualifying for free or reduced lunches.

Master of Ceremonies was Jennifer Horbelt, co-anchor of WPSD Local 6 News. Entertainment for the cocktail party was provided by Terry Mike Jeffrey, while dinner entertainment was provided by The Art Edmaiston 4tet.

LtGen John “Glad” Castellaw, USMC (Ret), founder and CEO of Farmspace Systems, summed up the spirit of the evening perfectly by sharing the inspiration he witnessed firsthand when visiting Discovery Park. He said, “I saw a young girl coming down the escalator. As she came down, she saw the dinosaur and the other exhibits for the first time, and as I looked into her bright, shining, excited eyes, I saw that inspiration burning brightly. Rest in peace Robert Kirkland, your dream has come true.”

Discovery Park CEO Scott Williams welcomed the audience and introduced a new video about the museum and heritage park titled, “A Day in the Life of Discovery Park” and shared the 2021 Impact Report. Both can now be viewed online at DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com/mission.

Photos and more information about the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Awards Gala can be accessed on Discovery Park’s blog post, and attendees can view and download their photos from the evening on Discovery Park’s Flickr page.

Photo Caption: Honoree Anita Kay Archer (left) and her presenter, Andrea Woods

Photo Caption: Honoree Dr. Ron Kirkland (right) and his presenter, Jim Glasgow

Photo Caption: Honoree Jerry Reese (right) and his wife and presenter, Gwen Reese

Photo Caption: Honoree LtGen John (Glad) Castellaw USMC (Ret) (left) and his presenter, Randy C. Camp

Photo Captions: The 2022 Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Awards Gala and Fundraiser was held in Discovery Park of America’s Dino Hall

Photo Caption: Friends of Anita Kay Archer and Dr. Ron Kirkland took a moment on the red carpet to pose with the Discovery Park cave bear

Discovery Park of America Presents Awards at Gala and Fundraiser on March 5, 2022

Discovery Park of America Presents Awards at Gala and Fundraiser on March 5, 2022

The Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Awards Gala recognized individuals for their contributions in inspiring children and adults to see beyond.

March 8, 2022 – Guests arriving here Saturday evening, March 5 for our Robert E. and Jenny D. Discovery Awards Gala weren’t the only ones dressed up for the occasion. The iconic cave bear that, thanks to countless selfies taken and posted by guests has become Discovery Park’s de facto mascot, could be found next to the red carpet in a bow tie and formal hat created just for the special occasion. Discovery Park honored four individuals who bring enlightenment, awareness and education to those whose lives they’ve touched.

The inaugural gala and fundraiser was attended by a sold-out crowd of 350 people from around the region who joined Discovery Park in celebrating the winners, all of whom have deep roots in West Tennessee. Many in attendance had come to witness their friends and family members receiving the award and were visiting Discovery Park for the first time. The 2022 Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Awards Gala winners were:

  • Anita Kay Archer
  • LtGen John “Glad” Castellaw USMC (Ret)
  • Dr. Ron Kirkland
  • Jerry Reese

Live music was one of the highlights of the evening. At the cocktail party, guests enjoyed music provided by Terry Mike Jeffery. During dinner, background music was provided The Art Edmaiston 4tet.

Master of Ceremonies was Jennifer Horbelt, co-ancher of WPSD Local 6 News.

LtGen John “Glad” Castellaw, USMC (Ret), founder and CEO of Farmspace Systems, summed up the spirit of the evening perfectly by sharing the inspiration he witnessed firsthand when visiting Discovery Park. He said, “I saw a young girl coming down the escalator. As she came down, she saw the dinosaur and the other exhibits for the first time, and as I looked into her bright, shining, excited eyes, I saw that inspiration burning brightly. Rest in peace Robert Kirkland, your dream has come true.”

During the evening, Discovery Park CEO Scott Williams introduced a new video about the museum and heritage park titled, “A Day in the Life of Discovery Park” and shared the 2021 Impact Report. Both can be viewed here.

During the “Fund-a-Need” segment, gifts were raised for the Kirkland Scholarship Fund that provides free admission for students from all K-12 schools with 50% of the students qualifying for free or reduced lunches.

Attendees can view and download their photos from the evening on our Flickr page.

Jackson-Madison County Library Presents Bicentennial Program on Davy Crockett Featuring Discovery Park’s CEO 2022

Jackson-Madison County Library Presents Bicentennial Program on Davy Crockett Featuring Discovery Park’s CEO

March 1, 2022 – The Jackson-Madison County Library is hosting a Bicentennial program titled The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett on Saturday, March 12 at 12:00 p.m.

The program will be given by Scott Williams, author of the book for which the program is titled and Discovery Park’s CEO. He will be discussing his book, Davy Crockett’s ties to West Tenn., and signing books. Williams was inspired to write the book by the many places at Discovery Park where guests can experience the folk hero, frontiersman, politician and West Tennessee settler every day. Crockett lived in our region from 1822 until he departed for the Alamo in 1835. Crockett was also one of the earliest hunters around nearby Reelfoot Lake.

In “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett,” Williams uncovers what propelled Crockett’s fascinating journey to international fame, while also examining the birth of Tennessee during one of the most fascinating periods in American history.

The program will take place at the Jackson-Madison County Library in the Program Center located at 433 E. Lafayette St. in downtown. For more information, contact the Library at 731-425-8600, visit the Library’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/JMCLibrary or its website at www.jmclibrary.org.

Photo Caption: Cover art for “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett”

Press Release: Discovery Park of America Staff Furthers Relationship with the Tennessee State Library & Archives

Discovery Park of America Staff Furthers Relationship with the Tennessee State Library & Archives

Union City, Tenn. – Discovery Park of America president and CEO Scott Williams was recently elected to serve on the board of the Friends of the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The group was established in 2010 to support the activities of the Tennessee State Library & Archives.

The purpose of the Library & Archives is to preserve Tennessee’s legal and civic history and ensure Tennessee’s past is properly preserved and accessible for generations to come.

On April 12, 2021, the Library & Archives moved into a new building located at the intersection of Rep. John Lewis Way North and Jefferson Street in Nashville on the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and across from the Tennessee State Museum.

Additionally, Jennifer Wildes, Discovery Park’s senior director of collections and exhibits, was recently selected to attend the Library & Archives’ Tennessee Archives Institute. Each year, the Archives hosts the institute, a two-day series of workshops, on the principles and practices of archival management and records preservation. To graduate from the program with a certificate of archival management, archivists must complete three years of training. The institute also provides participants with opportunities to interact and exchange ideas with other archivists and recordkeepers from across the state.

“At Discovery Park, guests discover Tennessee history around every corner. From the Settlement that features a collection of hand-hewn log cabins to our exhibit and statue of David Crockett to our Regional History Gallery, we celebrate and work to preserve our great state’s history here every day,” said Williams. “We’re grateful for the work the Friends of the Library & Archives does, and we look forward to working more closely with them in the future.”

Photo Caption: Scott Williams, president and CEO of Discovery Park of America

Photo Caption: Jennifer Wildes, senior director of collections and exhibits at Discovery Park of America

Press Release: Discovery Park of America Grows Annual Three-Day Military History and Armed Forces Symposium to Include All Six Branches of the Military

Discovery Park of America Grows Annual Three-Day Military History and Armed Forces Symposium to Include All Six Branches of the Military

All active military, veterans, their guests and student groups will receive free admission to Discovery Park during all three days of this event.

Union City, Tenn. – Discovery Park of America is hosting its annual Military History and Armed Forces Symposium Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1, 2022. The event has grown significantly larger than previous years and will feature a variety of programs and interactive activities that explore the past, present and future of the American military. All active military, veterans, their guests and student groups will receive free admission to Discovery Park during all three days of this event.

Sponsored by Union City Coca-Cola and Dixie Gun Works, the Military History and Armed Forces Symposium features presentations from special guests, static and active demonstrations of military equipment and vehicles and gallery talks. Guests will also experience historical interpreters and period musicians throughout the museum and park.

In addition to bringing back the Lantern Walk this year, the event will include a members-only reception with entertainment provided by Operation Song and an early American folk dance with live music and dance instruction provided by the 52nd Regimental String Band. The band will also be performing during a church service held on Sunday morning.

Local Civil War memorabilia collector, Jason Pate, will be sharing some of his collection of rare photos in a special exhibit and presentation, “Hearing Voices of the Past Through Imagery.”

Friday’s events have been designed with students in mind and will provide both military- and history-related content perfect for school groups.

“For guests passionate about history and the military, this symposium is going to provide a lot to discover,” said Dr. Julie Hill, education events coordinator and lead member in planning the symposium. “Our education and exhibits team have put together three days that are packed with incredible activities highlighting our country’s military past, present and future.”

The list of those presenting from the main stage this year includes:

  • COL Many-Bears Grinder, USA (Ret), first woman to serve as Commissioner for the Department of Veterans Services
  • Maj Gen Tommy H. Baker, commissioner for Tennessee’s Department of Veteran Services
  • Dr. Elvernice “Sonny” Davis, Chaplain (COL) USA (Ret), author of “Reflections of an Army Chaplain”
  • Sue Hoppin, nationally recognized expert on military spouse and family issues, working to bridge the cultural gap between government, private and public groups and military communities
  • Kevin Rumley, USMC, musician who made his personal journey from life as a homeless veteran suffering from drug addiction to a college graduate with a master’s degree in social work
  • Dr. David Coffey, professor of history at the University of Tennessee at Martin and author of several books, including “In Harm’s Way: A History of the American Military Experience”
  • Wanda Nelson Castellaw, Tennessee native with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in educational psychology and a passion for supporting military spouses
  • LtGen John Castellaw, USMC (Ret), founder and CEO of Farmspace Systems, a company specializing in drone and aviation technology in agriculture, and 36-year veteran of the Marine Corps, where he held several commands, including chief of staff for the U. S. Central Command during the Iraq War
  • Bill Allen, USN (Ret), World War II Navy medic who is one of the last remaining D-Day survivors
  • Lt Col Amber Saldaña, USAF, 17th Training Support Squadron commander and career active-duty Air Force intelligence officer
  • Cmdr Leanne Braddock, USN (Ret), licensed marital and family therapist and 24-year veteran of the U.S. Navy

Those attending the event will also want to spend time exploring Discovery Park’s Military Gallery that can be found on two levels of the museum. The lower level contains a collection of military vehicles and weapons, as well as displays about the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and our current military conflicts. Displays about the Civil War, World War I and World War II can be found on the entry level, as well as an oral history theater that showcases stories shared by veterans.

All the programs, panel discussions and other events during the symposium are included with park admission or membership. Tickets to the Lantern Walk, members-only reception and an early American folk dance are free but limited and must be reserved at discoveryparkofamerica.com/event/military.

All active military, veterans, their guests and student groups receive free admission all three days of the event. Group leaders wanting to request scholarships for student groups should email Sheridan Wells at education@discoveryparkofamerica.com or call 731-599-1132.

For a full list of events and biographies on the special guests, visit discoveryparkofamerica.com/event/military.

Photo Caption: Soldiers saluting at the 2021 Military History and Armed Forces Symposium at Discovery Park of America.

Discovery Park Opens Cornerstone Box Discovered During Demolition of Historic Dresden First United Methodist Church 2022

Discovery Park Opens Cornerstone Box Discovered During Demolition of Historic Dresden First United Methodist Church

February 3, 2022 – On February 2, 2022, our artifact experts opened the cornerstone box discovered during the demolition of the historic Dresden First United Methodist Church. The building was damaged beyond repair in December 2021, during one of the worst outbreaks of tornadoes ever recorded in the United States. The cornerstone box was found bricked inside a part of the church that was dedicated in 1923 and was previously unknown to many of today’s church members. Once discovered, demolition halted as those on hand began work to carefully extract the box from the cornerstone of the building. The box has been stored properly at Discovery Park over the past few weeks as the Discovery Park team has developed a plan to conserve the remains in the box after opening. Jennifer Wildes, the museum’s senior director of collections and exhibits, managed the opening of the box and was assisted by Jade Walsh and Jamie Thomson.

“Of all the artifacts we discovered, the most meaningful for me was a typed letter from the church’s pastor at the time, S. L. Jewell,” said Wildes. It included a short history of the church, and he noted that the letter had been ‘hastily written for information of someone who may in coming years look in the box.’”

The majority of the items were well preserved with the most unexpected item being an ear of corn. A letter wrapped around the ear noted it was of the Little Willice variety and was placed in the box by E. E. Ellis, the Weakley County agriculture agent. Ellis wrote, “May God’s richest blessings be with each farmer and those that depend on farmers as long as good old Weakley County continues to be populated with people.”

Other items pulled from the box included:

  • Methodist hymnals and songbooks
  • Copies of the Dresden Enterprise newspaper from 1924
  • Copies of Methodist newspapers
  • Tube containing a document from the Boy Scouts of America
  • Correspondence relating to the building of the church
  • A 1920 photograph of a young church member, Norma Leone Lewis, discovered inside a hymnal
  • Official church rolls for 1923-1924

Church leaders are in the process of planning where and when their new church building will be built. Contributions to the Dresden First United Methodist Church rebuilding effort may be made online at GoFundMe.com by searching “Dresden FUMC Rebuilding Effort,” or checks may be mailed to:

Bldg & Renovation Fund
Dresden First United Methodist Church
411 Morrow St.
Dresden, TN 38225

Press Release: Cornerstone Box Discovered During Demolition of Historic Dresden First United Methodist Church Opened at Discovery Park of America

Cornerstone Box Discovered During Demolition of Historic Dresden First United Methodist Church Opened at Discovery Park of America

Union City, Tenn.—Church members from Dresden First United Methodist Church in Dresden, Tenn., were present at Discovery Park of America on Wed., Feb. 2 for the opening of a copper cornerstone box that was discovered during demolition of the church building. The church had been damaged beyond repair by tornadoes this past December. The cornerstone box was found bricked inside a part of the church that was dedicated in 1924 and was previously unknown to many of today’s church members.

Jennifer Wildes, the museum’s senior director of collections and exhibits, managed the opening of the box assisted by Jade Walsh and Jamie Thomson. Each artifact found inside was thoroughly examined and cataloged. In the coming weeks, the items will be put on temporary display at Discovery Park.

“Of all the artifacts we discovered, the most meaningful for me was a typed letter from the church’s pastor at the time, S. L. Jewell,” said Wildes. It included a short history of the church, and he noted that the letter had been ‘hastily written for information of someone who may in coming years look in the box.’”

The majority of the items were well preserved with the most unexpected item being an ear of corn. A letter wrapped around the ear noted it was of the Little Willice variety and was placed in the box by E. E. Ellis, the Weakley County agriculture agent. Ellis wrote, “May God’s richest blessings be with each farmer and those that depend on farmers as long as good old Weakley County continues to be populated with people.”

Other items pulled from the box included:

  • Methodist hymnals and songbooks
  • Copies of the Dresden Enterprise newspaper from 1924
  • Copies of Methodist newspapers
  • Tube containing a document from the Boy Scouts of America
  • Correspondence relating to the building of the church
  • A 1920 photograph of a young church member, Norma Leone Lewis, discovered inside a hymnal
  • Official church rolls for 1923-1924

“To say we were overwhelmed with joy in discovering this cornerstone box would be an understatement to say the least,” said Jamie Kemp, chairman of the trustees of the church. “Watching the staff of Discovery Park as they uncovered and preserved these precious memories gave me great joy.”

Discovery Park has uploaded photos of many of the items to a blog on their website, DiscoveryParkof America.com.

Church leaders are in the process of planning where and when their new church building will be built. Contributions to the Dresden First United Methodist Church rebuilding effort may be made online at GoFundMe.com, or checks may be mailed to:

Bldg & Renovation Fund
Dresden First United Methodist Church
411 Morrow St.
Dresden, TN 38225

Media: Link to B-roll

Photo Caption: Discovery Park of America exhibits team opening the cornerstone box. 

Photo Caption: Current members of Dresden First United Methodist, Beverly Oliver and Jamie Kemp, discussing the items discovered inside the cornerstone box with Jamie Thomson (far right), member of the Discovery Park exhibits team. 

Photo Caption: Items discovered inside the cornerstone box. 

Photo Caption: Letter from the church’s pastor at the time, S.L. Jewell. 

Press Release: Discovery Park of America to Celebrate National Ag Day on March 22, 2022 with Free Admission for Ag Student Groups

Discovery Park of America to Celebrate National Ag Day on March 22, 2022 with Free Admission for Ag Student Groups

Union City, Tenn.—Discovery Park of America will celebrate National Ag Day at the museum and heritage park on Tues., March 22, 2022.

National Ag Day is held by The Agriculture Council of America (ACA), an organization uniquely composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society. The Agriculture Council of America and the National Ag Day program was begun in 1973.

Discovery Park recently opened a permanent exhibit, “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival” in the museum’s Simmons Bank Ag Center.

On March 22, Ag-related businesses and organizations will have booths with information and hands-on activities focused on innovation in how food, fuel and fiber products are produced, the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products around the world and the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. There will also be special emphasis placed on career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

Other content that day will include a groundbreaking for the park’s new greenhouses and Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion at 11 a.m. and activities in the Simmons Bank Ag Center and on the Nutrien Ag Solutions Mainstage. Also unveiled will be a new guided pollinator tour.

Ag educators who would like to bring a group of students and companies and organizations who would like to participate should apply at DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com/Event/Agday.

For more information about National Ag Day at Discovery Park, contact Zach Rea at zrea@discoveryparkofamerica.com.

Photo Caption: Farm Credit Mid-America shared more about the business of agriculture with a group from the Paris chapter of Future Farmers of America.

Photo caption: Carol Reed, executive director with the Tennessee Corn Promotion Council discusses innovation in agriculture with a group of students at a previous Ag Day at Discovery Park.

Press Release: Farm Credit Mid-America Kicks Off Discovery Park of America’s Fundraising Campaign for Greenhouse and Education Pavilion with Major Gift

Farm Credit Mid-America Kicks Off Discovery Park of America’s Fundraising Campaign for Greenhouse and Education Pavilion with Major Gift

Union City, Tenn.Discovery Park of America announced today a new partnership with Farm Credit Mid-America that kicks off a new phase in the museum and heritage park’s dedication to educating children and adults on innovation in agriculture. The Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion will be located between Discovery Park’s vineyard and “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival,” an exhibit that opened in early 2021.

Farm Credit Mid-America is a financial services cooperative that has served the credit needs of farmers and rural residents across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee for over a century providing loans for real estate, operating, equipment, housing and related services such as crop insurance and vehicle, equipment and building leases.

“One of the most impactful ways our association can help secure the future of rural communities and agriculture is through educational initiatives that deliver value for people,” said Andrew Melton, regional vice president of agricultural lending at Farm Credit Mid-America. “This partnership with Discovery Park of America will provide an interactive educational experience to a variety of visitors—many of whom have no background in agriculture. We’re excited to partner with them in their mission of inspiring children and adults to ‘See Beyond.’”

The public is invited to a ground-breaking ceremony for the greenhouse that will take place on Tues., March 22, 2022 at 11 a.m. during the park’s National Ag Day celebration.

Discovery Park’s education department and others will be utilizing The Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion to spotlight topics relating to the business of agriculture along with growing cycles, garden design, soil health and other topics relating to the basics of plant science. The area will also feature two greenhouses. One greenhouse will provide an opportunity for guests to see members of the Discovery Park grounds team working with plants that will be used to enhance the park’s 40-acres of landscaping. An additional greenhouse will be designated for children and adults for educational-related programs and hands-on experiences.

“The beauty of the grounds was very important to Discovery Park founder Robert Kirkland, and for many years, we talked about all the good things we could do with our own greenhouse,” said John Watkins, the director of grounds for Discovery Park. “Being able to have an entire area dedicated to growing plants and educating our guests on plant science aligns perfectly with our mission.”

Other organizations and individuals are also encouraged to give to support the building of the greenhouses. Large gifts have been made or are committed by leading agri-tech company Green Plains, Inc., Betty and John Tanner, Michelle and Al Creswell and Diana Frankum.

Other organizations and individuals are also encouraged to give a gift to support the building of the greenhouses, and donations may be made in memory or honor of a friend or loved one. Those who give a gift of $100 or will be included on the sponsorship wall as a “Green Thumb” supporter. Those interested in supporting Discovery Park’s greenhouse project can make a gift on Discovery Park’s website or by contacting Mary Nita Bondurant at mbondurant@discoveryparkofamerica.com.

Photo caption: Artist rendering of the Farm Credit Mid-America Greenhouse and Education Pavillion that will open at Discovery Park of America later in 2022.