Historic Moments
Live Here.

Discover the new destination for revealing our past and reveling in the present.

A distinct gathering place to make your events historic.

Discover the new destination for revealing our past and reveling in the present.

The History & Culture Center of Williamson County, TN is a destination for revealing our past and reveling in the present. As Williamson County's first permanent, interactive exhibition space dedicated to telling its comprehensive county-wide history, the Center will honor and share stories of the people and places that comprise the fabric of our community today.

Housed within a National Register of Historic Places building dating to 1905, the Center preserves, interprets, and exhibits artifacts and immersive narratives related to the social, economic, and cultural history of the county's regional and national influence. The current plans are for the Center to open its exhibits in mid 2023.

Support the History and Culture Center

Let us make
your historic moment
live here.

To sustain the Center's nonprofit endeavors, this beautifully restored, 6,000-square-foot, three-story building is available for private event use. Located just a couple blocks from the square in historic Downtown Franklin, and across the street from The Harpeth Hotel, the Center doubles as an exclusive event venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, corporate events and more.

A charming and distinct multi-configurable setting for any event, the Center's brick walls, hardwood floors, tall windows, and fireplaces serve as the perfect backdrop for your important occasion. The Center is available for private events now.

For upcoming Events and Showings

Recent News and Upcoming Events

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Ms. Thelma Battle, Williamson County African American historian. Image courtesy of the Williamson County Public Library, Franklin, Tennessee. 

Thelma Battle – “If it were not for Thelma, African American history would not be recognized in this county.” Rick Warwick Williamson County Historian

Trailblazer. Grassroots. Historian. Storyteller. Ambassador. Activist. These are just a few of the words that describe Thelma Battle, Williamson County’s renowned African American historian. Born after World War II (1946), Ms. Battle grew up in Franklin, attending Natchez High School prior to desegregation. For nearly three decades, she researched, collected photographs, and oral histories, publishing multiple books including Natchez Street Revisited Vols. 1 & 2, Raining in the House and Leaking Outdoors, and We Ran Until Who Lasted the Longest African American Culture Williamson County, Tennessee. Her photographic exhibitions displayed yearly at the Williamson County Public Library depicted the lives of African American communities and remains a wealth of historical information present and future generations may lean on and learn from when understanding the whole story of the county’s past. As a playwright, she wrote, “You Can’t Know Where You’re Going Unless You Know Where You’ve Been,” produced by the Inner-City Coalition and the Williamson County Arts Council in February 1997, showcasing African American youth talent depicting African American history through verse.

As a community activist, she advocated for the preservation of African American historic sites, including cemeteries and the McLemore House. She was a founding member of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County, served on the Williamson County Bicentennial Commission, and in 1994 was one of 200 people to receive a cultural diversity scholarship to attend the National Trust’s Preservation conference.

Today, Ms. Battle remains active in research and publishing. Ms. Battle will soon release her third book in a series on the historic Natchez neighborhood. Nearly all her books are available for purchase at the Heritage Foundation’s office at the Old, Old Jail at 112 Bridge Street.
March is Women’s History Month. The lives and legacies of all women forever connected to Williamson County, are revealed through our saved places and shared stories that explore their lives of both trials and triumphs and their contributions to our history, culture, and society. This year, we are celebrating revolutionary women who tell our stories and shape our community. Women have always been influential in sharing our heritage through the spoken word and in print to connect the lessons of those who came before us. It is through their stories; we expand our understanding and strengthen our relationships with one another. #womenshistorymonth #sharingstories #tellingstories #savingplaces 

Image info: The image is ca.1918 from the Bingham community of Williamson County. Bonnie Blankenship (Mrs. Bunyon Parham) willfully holds up a sign, supporting votes for women, during the women's suffrage movement.
Last month, we hosted a talk about Historic Preservation Advocacy and Action best practices.  The event was recorded to watch later and resources are now available online.  We hope to do more of these types of events in the future. Please watch, enjoy, share, and get involved with us further. Link in bio.
At the Heritage Foundation, we recognize the importance of telling the stories of all of us in Williamson County. From working to advocate for the preservation of all historic places to the value of intangible heritage through stories of people, places, and spaces, please join us as we commemorate Black History Month through remarkable stories of perseverance, preservation, and purpose. 

To start the month, we are highlighting the historic Lee-Buckner Rosenwald School. Lee-Buckner became the first rural Rosenwald School constructed when it opened its doors in 1927. Serving children in the Duplex community of southern Williamson County, its construction was funded by a combination of sources; the Williamson County Board of education, white and African American citizens, and the Julius Rosenwald Fund. The Rosenwald Fund bridged the educational divide in the rural South for African American children to receive equal nobility in the classroom. As living alumni Charles Buford eloquently stated, “This school taught us all we could be somebody in life.” 

To learn more about Lee-Buckner Rosenwald School and our preservation efforts to relocate and restore it at Franklin Grove, click link in bio.
Want to learn more about State Historic Tax Credits?  Attend this webinar on January 24th at 3 PM CT from @savingplaces called "State Historic Tax Credit Incentives – Tools and Perspectives for Building Stronger and More Vibrant Communities." The National Trust has developed a state historic tax credit resource guide and interactive map that will help advocates, stakeholders, and policy makers to develop and strengthen state historic tax credit incentives to improve our communities. Senator Bill Frist will be one of the presenters.  Register with the link in bio.
Unity. This was the tenant of Dr. King’s, I Have A Dream speech, given from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. His words from his speech nearly sixty years ago are poignantly stated in this excerpt, “So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. 

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. 

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” 

So, today we commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his dedicated commitment of peaceful, community-led action during the Civil Rights Movement.

photo: Trikosko, Marion S.
We're excited to announce that @AbleVoices won the @williamsonhistorycenter "host your photo shoot" contest.  They were randomly chosen from the entries and we can't wait to be the backdrop for their work.  AbleVoices is a non-profit organization that provides photography programs for individuals with disabilities as a means for self-expression, empowerment, and advocacy.  More photos of theirs to come.  If you need a photo or video shoot location, please let us know.
If recent activity has shown us anything, it is that historic preservation is VERY important to the people of this community! This makes us very happy at the Heritage Foundation because preservation advocacy is our mission! 

So, we're holding a public event at the Franklin Theatre on January 17th at 6pm. 
 • We’ll be sharing best practices in positive preservation efforts and providing guests with an advocacy toolkit for how to get involved at the grassroots level
 • Attendees will see examples of the best and worst in preservation advocacy, showcasing how citizens can make an impact in their community
 • And we will highlight a few interesting case studies

And yes, the event has relevance to Beechwood Hall. Admission is free and seats are limited. Please make plans to attend! RSVP link in bio. 

Thank you for your support, and I hope to see you there!
- Bari Beasley, President & CEO
Are you interested in learning more about historic preservation advocacy? On January 17th at 6PM, join the Heritage Foundation for a FREE event at The Franklin Theatre that will share key touch points for pursuing grassroots preservation advocacy, community engagement, and best practices for keeping perspectives realistic while inspiring collaborative preservation work in our community. RSVP and reserve your seat. Link in bio.
A picture tells a thousand words. And in 1884, this rural scene was commonplace south of the Carter House on Columbia Pike. Once traveled by horses, wagons, and buggies, today cars traverse the road during all times of the day and night. During the Civil War, the road was heavily traveled by both armies, and it also played a role during the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864. As the town of Franklin grew in the early 20th century, neighborhoods and businesses began to dot the landscape. Today, some of the land along Columbia Pike just south of the Carter House is now part of the reclaimed Franklin battlefield.