Clarksville’s Customs House Museum July 2017 Exhibits and Activities

The Customs House Museum and Cultural CenterClarksville, TN – The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is located in historic downtown Clarksville, Tennessee. Come explore an entire city block featuring large gallery spaces filled with fine art, science and history.

Some of the events in July at the Museum are: Eric Buechel: The Familiar, Tales & Rails Tuesdays, Art of the Staff, Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature, Frank Morrison Live and Family Art Fridays.

Eric Buechel

Eric Buechel


The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper
May 9th – August 1st | Orgain, Bruner & Crouch Galleries

Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper

Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper

This exhibition is one of the most comprehensive traveling exhibitions ever organized featuring works on paper by African-American artists from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The 70 works in the exhibition include drawings, etchings, lithographs, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, gouaches, linoleum cuts and color screenprints by such noted artists as Ron Adams, Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, John Biggers, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Eldizer Cortor, Margaret Burroughs, and many other outstanding artists.

This highly acclaimed exhibition has been featured in major museums stretching across America, and Clarksville is its only scheduled stop in a contiguous twelve-state region in our part of the country. The exhibition was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

Eric Buechel: The Familiar
June 2nd – July 30th | Planters Bank Peg Harvill Gallery

Eric Buechel grew up in a rural northern area of New Jersey, just west of Manhattan and attended the DuCret School of Art in Plainfield, New Jersey. He then transferred to Broward College in South Florida and earned a degree in fine art. Since moving to Tennessee in 2002, Buechel has focused exploring art the camera. His three year battle with cancer gave him the desire to create with a new found perspective.

This Is My Story
June 8th – October 15th | Jostens Gallery

This Is My Story

This Is My Story

Women writers representing multiple decades share their thoughts of who they are on May 14th, 2017 (Mother’s Day). Their writings are suspended on cloth, hung “clothesline style” in the gallery.

Art of the Staff
June 1st – July 24th | The Leaf Chronicle Lobby

See art in a variety of mediums created by the staff of the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center.

Forward March
March 7th – July 30th | Kimbrough Gallery

This exhibit showcases maps, documents, dioramas, flags, and photos from several wars, featuring objects from the collection of Dr. John Olson.

Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature
March 23rd – August 20th | Memory Lane

This groundbreaking exhibition of Appalachian children’s literature examines seminal titles published since the 1800s. Come explore our region’s literary heritage and see how children’s literature tells the story of Appalachia. This is a traveling exhibit from East Tennessee Historical Society and Knox County Public Library.


First Thursday Art Walk
July 6th, 5:00pm – 7:00pm.

The museum is open to the public with free admission as part of Downtown Clarksville’s First Thursday Art Walk.

Frank Morrison, Live!
Saturday, July 8th, 10:30am, 1:30pm, & 3:30pm | Geraldine Braume Turner Auditorium

The museum is open to the public with free admission as part of our Second Saturday Free Admission Day from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Attendees will have three opportunities to hear Atlanta artist and illustrator Frank Morrison promote appreciation of illustration as an art form, reading as an enjoyable learning experience, how children and adults benefit from viewing art, as well as talking about his road to becoming a professional artist.

Morrison transitioned from graffiti artist and touring rap dancer to fine artist and illustrator after visiting and being inspired by the Louvre and other museums in New York. Morrison has been deeply influenced by many of the African American artists who are represented in The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper exhibition.

He has illustrated more than twenty children’s books, including The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller which has been chosen as a notable social studies book for third to fifth grade readers by the Children’s Book Council. Quickest Kid has a direct connection to Clarksville, Tennessee.

It tells the story of two girls determined to impress their track hero Wilma Rudolph, an African American sprinter from Clarksville who, in 1960, became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at the Olympics. Morrison will be available to sign copies of The Quickest Kid after each of his presentations, and copies of the book will be available for purchase in Seasons: The Museum Store.

The programs are free and open to the public. Program sponsored by Agero.

Crafting Words from Artwork: Writing the Seen and Unseen
Saturday, July 15th, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Workshop fee: $20.00, limit of 30 participants. Sponsored by Agero.

The old cliché of a picture being worth a thousand words can finally be put to rest. Ekphrasis, the literary tradition of texts written in relation to visual art, proves the connection between the two art forms is indeed complimentary, not competitively valued. In this creative writing workshop, you’ll explore artwork from The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection as your primary source of inspiration.

With engaging prompts and creative exercises, Poet Stephanie Pruitt will guide you through the Customs House Museum gallery. In the tradition of Keats’ “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” Frank O’Hara’s “Why I am Not a Painter”, and Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocq’s Ophelia, participants will draft poems from various perspectives by weaving observation, curiosity, empathy, memory, and visual literacy with poetic craft.

In addition to the writing in this workshop, Pruitt will offer a mini master class on the art of presenting your poems onstage. All participants will be invited to share their creative work at a public reading on July 27th. R.S.V.P. by July 8th to

Art & Lunch: African Americans and the New Deal Art Projects
Wednesday, July 19th, 12:15pm | Geraldine Braume Turner Auditorium. Sponsored by Agero.

Executive Director Jim Zimmer will talk about how government-sponsored art projects established during the Great Depression provided opportunities for African American artists of the period. In his slide presentation, he will make reference to artists included in The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper exhibition and others from this fascinating era of American art history.

Program is free and open to the public.

Family Mural Workshop: Life Through Art
Saturday, July 29th, available all day in the Family Art Studio. Sponsored by Agero.

Clarksville is a community of great diversity. Celebrate your role in Clarksville’s diversity by creating an autobiographical, collaged “puzzle piece” that shares something about you. Your completed work will be joined with others to create a “puzzle mural” that reflects our unique community.

The mural will be exhibited on the walls of the Family Art Studio for three weeks in August! Materials will be provided, but you may also want to bring your picture with you for the collaged piece. The workshop is free with Museum admission and is recommended for ages 5 through adult.

Family Art Fridays
Join us in the Family Art Studio every Friday from 10:30am-12:30pm & 1:30pm-4:30pm

July 7th, Fizzy Painting: We’re painting with baking soda and vinegar to create fizzing watercolor art
July 14th, Collages: Create a collage using paper, pictures, and yarn
July 21st, Constellations: Explore how dots can be connected to create a picture with this constellation sewing craft
July 28th, Pendulum Art: We’ll be swinging into art with pendulums

Activities are suitable for all ages.

Tales & Rails Tuesdays
July 11th – 25th

Join Ms. Sue in the Geraldine Turner Auditorium to hear stories illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Frank Morrison, and E.B. Lewis: 10:15am – 10:45am & 2:15pm – 2:45pm

The model trains will make special runs: 10:45am – 11:15am & 2:45pm – 3:00pm

Appalachian Wednesdays at the Powers’ Family’s Log House
10:00am – 11:15am & 2:00pm – 3:15pm

July 5th: Make a button whizzer toy
July 12th: Make a paper plate weaving
July 19th: Design a quilt block
July 26th: Examine some outhouse “toilet paper”

All activities are free with your museum membership. Non-members pay regular admission fees. For more information contact Ms. Sue at or 931.648.5780.

About the Customs House Museum

Customs House Museum and Cultural CenterLocated in the heart of historic downtown Clarksville, Tennessee, the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is the State’s second largest general museum. The original portion of the building was constructed in 1898 as a U.S. Post Office and Customs House for the flourishing tobacco trade. Incorporating a number of architectural styles, the original structure is one of the most photographed buildings in the region.

With over 35,000 square feet of the region’s best hands-on activities and special events…people of all ages agree – the Customs House Museum is well worth the stop!

The Explorer’s Gallery is packed with fun, learning and fantasy in Aunt Alice’s Attic, McGregor’s Market and kitchen, and of course – the Bubble Cave! Finally, get “all aboard” to see our fantastic model trains. Our volunteer engineers “ride the rails” every Sunday afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

Regular museum hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sundays. Adult admission is $7.00, Senior Citizens and College ID $5.00, Ages 6 to 18 $3.00, and under six years and Museum members are free.

The Customs House Museum is located at 200 South Second Street. For more information, call 931.648.5780 or visit their website at




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