A museum about Law and Justice sounds not really like the most thrilling place out there. However, during the sixth day of my Pittsburgh Penguins trip in March 2022, I had quite some time to explore Nashville before the ice hockey match at Bridgestone Arena. The Tennessee Judiciary Museum came with very nice reviews and the opening times suited my schedule – so I just have been curious and dared a visit. I definitely took a good decision, as you will see in this review.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum – Location & Admission
The Tennessee Judiciary Museum is located right inside the Tennessee Supreme Court. I spend some twenty to thirty minutes in the museum – and more than half of that time on top to find it. The reason is that the museum is not signposted – and at least as a German tourist I did not really dare to just go inside the Supreme Court. However, that’s exactly what you have to do. The building is located on Capitol Hill, right next to the Tennessee State Capitol. The museum is located right at the left hand side of the Supreme Court Main Hall. You have to pass an airport style security control to enter the museum. The place is uphill, but in walking distance from Central Nashville. The bus station Charlotte Ave & 7th Ave N EB in front of the court building serves multiple bus lines.
The museum is open on weekdays only (Monday to Friday). Opening times are 9:00 to 12:00 hrs. Admission is free.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum – The Visit
The museum is located in a library. The majority of the room is still hosting historic books, which you may watch from a distance, but you are not allowed to approach the boards of books. The exhibition as such is located in different alcoves of the room.
The museum majorly focuses on three different aspects of the Tennessee Law System and its history: first of all, it illustrates the development of law in the US state and highlights key events like the first Afro-American person in certain roles of the legal system. Secondly, it introduces you to the different kinds of courts in Tennessee and what their mission is. This is on the one hand described by just doing it theoretically and explaining the setup of the court(s), its/their location etc.
On the other hand, the Tennessee Judiciary Museum also showcases different historic lawsuits in which the different kinds of courts have been involved. This part of the museum is excellent and even very well explained for me as a German who is naturally not too much into the US legal structures. Not only the range of cases is quite fascinating, they typically also show original pieces of evidence, parts of the case records and other items illustrating the situation.
Honoring a Surpreme Court Judge
Last, but not least, the museum is honoring Grafton Green, who lived from 1872 to 1947 and lead the Tennessee Supreme Court for more than 23 years as the chief justice. You see his original desk and workspace, including some biographic information.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum – Services
Tennessee Supreme Court does not provide any special services like recreation or shopping facilities. The staff in the museum was very friendly and felt to be really proud when people are visiting this special place.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum – My View
I love these kind of places. Especially for me as a stranger, it was really interesting to learn about the legal system in Tennessee (and thus, hopefully, in the USA). The staff has been so friendly and welcoming, the small exhibition is really well done. As there are a couple of really great attractions around anyway, it would be a shame if you wouldn’t add this place to your Nashville bucket list as well.
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