President Andrew Johnson Museum.
Coffee and cigar locomotive belonged to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

President Andrew Johnson Museum

Field review by the editors.

Tusculum, Tennessee

As with several other attractions devoted to the 17th President of the United States, the President Andrew Johnson Museum was the inspiration of Margaret Johnson Patterson Bartlett, Johnson's great-granddaughter and last surviving direct descendent. She had wanted Johnson's library to go to the National Park Service, but they declined the offer -- so instead Margaret gave it to her alma mater, Tusculum College. When she died, more Johnson artifacts found their way to the College, which opened its own President Andrew Johnson Museum in 1994.

President Andrew Johnson Museum.
Sculpted head of Andrew Johnson looms over a mask made from the face of his famous predecessor.

Although small, the museum had what we thought was the best selection of eclectic Johnsonabilia of any Johnson attraction, ranging from his humble ironing board to a fancy coffee-and-cigar dispenser shaped like a train that had belonged to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. When Davis fled at the end of the Civil War the train was sent as a gift to President Lincoln, who died before it arrived. Johnson, no fan of the Confederacy, accepted the train as his own, and took it with him when he left the White House.

President Andrew Johnson Museum.
Johnson's "conspicuously large" hat, according to its display, "was made to be seen."

The Andrew Johnson Presidential Library, predating any other official presidential library, is displayed in a closet.

History professor Peter Noll, who oversees the museum, told us that its collection includes what is probably the real Andrew Johnson Death Bed -- there are several other claimants -- but that the museum doesn't have enough room to exhibit it.

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Also see: Tributes to a Traitor President

President Andrew Johnson Museum

Address:
67 Gilland St., Tusculum, TN
Directions:
On the campus of Tusculum College. From Erwin Hwy turn south onto Gilland St. The Museum is the second building on the left; the parking lot is in front of it.
Hours:
M-F 9-5, but please call in advance. (Call to verify)
Phone:
423-636-7348
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Cannonball in a Church WallCannonball in a Church Wall, Greeneville, TN - 4 mi.
Marble Andrew JohnsonMarble Andrew Johnson, Greeneville, TN - 4 mi.
Andrew Johnson National Historic SiteAndrew Johnson National Historic Site, Greeneville, TN - 4 mi.
In the region:
Barn Rock, Mendota, VA - 47 mi.

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May 26, 2018

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