Community members gathered July 4 to celebrate the opening of the Joanna Lewis Museum of Coffee County History, located in Manchester’s downtown courthouse.
The museum is named in memory of former county historian Joanna Lewis, and several of her family members were present at the opening ceremony.
Her grandson, Wesley Lewis, was one of them.
He said it was very exciting and heartwarming to see the museum honoring his grandmother. Lewis added his grandmother instilled in him love for history and respect for the country.
Among the attendees were also Emily Lewis and Danielle Lewis, Joanna Lewis’ granddaughters.
About the museum
The Joanna Lewis Museum of Coffee County History is dedicated to Lewis, a late member of the society who died March 5, 2018. Lewis was the Coffee County Historian, served as President of the Coffee County Historical Society, and was a member of the Middle Tennessee Amateur Radio Society. A historian and genealogist; she also co-published Tombstone Records of Cannon County, Tennessee.
Lewis’s husband Jesse, also deceased, worked to preserve the local history, as well. He joined the historical society in 1975.
The museum features scrapbooks, items from the Gilmore Funeral Home, old books, toys, notebooks from the Green Thumb Garden club and the retired teacher’s club that date back to the 1960s and Central High School sport records that date back 30 or 40 years.
Five of the display cases were donated to the historical society for the museum.
The museum became reality with the help of funds awarded to historical society member Beverly Vetter by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The funds - $5,000 – came from the Lillian Ashely fund, a foundation created from the estate of a Manchester resident who wanted to better the county, and the High Pressure Laminate Settlement Fund.
The museum was originally planned to open in May, but the opening ceremony was delayed to allow for a bigger celebration.
Elena Cawley may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.