ATHENS, TN 12/6/23 The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum is a recipient of a $75,000 grant for Capital Maintenance and Improvement from the State of Tennessee as administered through the Tennessee State Museum. The grant award will be used for the modernization of the museum’s elevator to the latest solid-state technology, reducing elevator downtime, improving reliability and efficiency, and enhancing the museum’s access for visitors.

The Tennessee General Assembly made available $5 million in funding from the 2023-2024 Appropriations Act, “for the sole purpose of providing grants to museums with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or affiliated with a governmental entity for capital maintenance and improvements.”

It was a highly competitive process. In total, the Tennessee State Museum received 170 applications, totaling $12.5M in funding requests for the $5M appropriation. The Museum made full or partial awards to 108 museums across the state, representing 58 counties.

“The Tennessee State Museum serves the State of Tennessee through history, art, and culture,” said Ashley Howell, Tennessee State Museum Executive Director. “There is incredible work being done throughout the state by our strong network of Tennessee museums and historic homes. This grant is an extension of how we can further support their efforts and the preservation of local and state history. We thank the Tennessee General Assembly for their support for Tennessee Museums.”

“We at the Living Heritage Museum are very excited to have received this generous grant from the Tennessee State Museum,” said Brett King, The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum Executive Director. “The modernization of the elevator has been the highest priority for us for several years, and this modernization will further enhance not only safety and reliability, but access to all our citizens and visitors.”
The Capital Improvement and Maintenance grant had a minimum request amount of $5,000 and a maximum request amount of $100,000.  All projects must be completed by June 30, 2024.

About The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum
The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum is located at 522 W. Madison Ave Athens, TN. The Museum’s mission is to steward the history and heritage of McMinn County and the region. This mission is met by collecting, preserving, presenting, and interpreting artifacts, artwork, and other items representative of our community’s culture, both past and present. Meeting this mission offers education and enrichment for the public and visitors of all ages, races, and ethnicities. The museum offers a unique collection of over 10,000 artifacts with 30 permanent exhibit spaces and quarterly rotating exhibits throughout the year. Our exhibits trace a storyline that dates from the 1700’s to the present. The museum also offers special events and educational programs throughout the year.

About Tennessee State Museum
Celebrating its 86th Anniversary in 2023, the Tennessee State Museum, located on the corner of Rosa L Parks Blvd. and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, is home to 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. Through six permanent exhibitions titled Natural History, First Peoples, Forging a Nation, The Civil War and Reconstruction, Change and Challenge and Tennessee Transforms, the Museum takes visitors on a journey – through artifacts, films, interactive displays, events and educational and digital programing – from the state’s geological beginnings to the present day. Additional temporary exhibitions explore significant periods and individuals in history, along with art and cultural movements. The Museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information on exhibitions and events, please visit