Plans underway for new building to house Greeneville Greene County History Museum

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- Plans are underway to build a new facility to house items that tell the story of one local county’s past.

Greeneville Greene County History Museum officials said the new building carries a price tag of $1.2 to 1.5 million.

They shared the concept design for the new space on Monday with News Channel 11’s Blake Lipton.

It will be located next to the Presidential Homestead across the street from the current building. 

“The present building is not just a challenge,” said the museum’s board co-president Dan Spice, “but it’s also nearing the end of useful life on a lot of things that require investment.”

Water leaking throughout the building, an aging roof, and other issues are reasons to replace the 103-year-old building that once housed the Andrew Johnson School.

More than a year’s worth of planning has produced a conceptual design.

“The space, the layout of this structure is specifically designed for a museum,” said board member Amy Saxonmeyer, “as opposed to the building we’re in now, it was built as a school and it’s a collection of classrooms.”

The current facility, which the Greeneville Greene County History Museum has used since 1983, has three levels, but only one is handicap accessible.

The proposed building will have more exhibit and parking space. It will also be fully handicap accessible.

Spice also said it also aims to be more hands-on.

“One of the things our strategic planning brought out is that we wanted to make the exhibits more interactive,” he said.

Saxonmeyer said if they chose to renovate the current building, it would have cost more than $2 million.

Board co-president Bill Brown says the Mary Gertrude-Fox Foundation enabled the museum to purchase that plot which was the location of former tobacco warehouse.

“It’s situated right next door to the Andrew Johnson Homestead,” said Brown, “so the tourism and traffic will benefit the museum as we will benefit them.”

Members of the museum are currently working with the community to raise money.

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