If you ask Dan Pomeroy how he feels about the new Tennessee State Museum, you can immediately see how excited he gets.
Pomeroy is the chief curator of the museum, a project funded mostly through $120 million appropriated by the state legislature. After two and a half years of construction next to the Nashville Farmers' Market, the new standalone building will finally open its doors to the public Thursday.
Up until yesterday, construction workers and museum staff were still putting their finishing touches on the building.
Pomeroy says the money and space allocated for the museum makes it possible to display objects for the first time. One of those artifacts is a flag that dates to the 1700s, which he says is one of only two that exist in the state.
“This is one of the jewels of this new museum," Pomeroy said. "This is a 13-star United States flag.”
Mark Bynon, the conservator in charge of the preservation of the flag, said the process to reconstruct the shattered silk took almost two years.
“This is all in tiny, small pieces. So you imagine, putting that together was quite a jigsaw piece," Bynon said.
The new space is somewhat smaller than the old basement museum, but a spokesman says it was designed with the visitor in mind. Some of the items have special lighting, like a woven moccasin and basket made by Native Americans more than 1,000 years ago. There’s also a new children’s gallery, and people standing at the main entrance have a view of the capitol.
Because of these features, Pomeroy, the curator, says he expects to see the same visitors more than once. “You can come back as many times as you want, and you will need to come back because there is so much to see here.”
In fact, a spokesman says they are anticipating doubling the number of visitors in the upcoming year.
Admission is free. The museum's hours for the opening weekend are:
-Thursday, Oct. 4: 1:30-8 p.m.
-Friday, Oct. 5: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
-Saturday, Oct. 6: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
-Sunday, Oct. 7: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
-Monday, Oct. 8: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.