In 1980, Mrs. Margaret Johnson Patterson Bartlett, great-granddaughter of President Andrew Johnson, donated to Tusculum College a collection of books and papers which belonged to the President. In 1981, Mrs. Bartlett then presented the College with a replica of the birthplace of Andrew Johnson which was built directly behind Old College. (The replica was dismantled in the mid-1990’s.) The Andrew Johnson Memorial Association was subsequently founded in 1982 to further the recognition and appreciation of the contributions of President Johnson and his family to Greene County, Tennessee, and to the Nation.
In 1992 the Association assisted with the establishment of the President Andrew Johnson Museum & Library and the development of an Andrew Johnson Studies Program. The Association was deeply involved in cataloguing the original college library, the Rev. Charles Coffin collection.
The Association has supported its mission throughout the years by funding publications, underwriting exhibits, helping students with internships, purchasing artifacts, supporting community history events, providing scholarships for children to attend museum programs, performing volunteer work, hosting receptions, and leading the work to name a mountain after the President, among other projects.
The organization undertook a major educational effort from 2004 to 2014 by becoming the sponsor of the National History Day Program in Greene County and later in Northeast Tennessee. From a beginning of approximately 50 students, through 2014 over 800 students participate each year at the school and District level. In 2009, another major step was taken by funding a part-time position of NHD Resource Coordinator who worked in schools with students and teachers. This was the only such position in the state.
In 2007, the name of the organization was changed to the Andrew Johnson Heritage Association in order to better reflect the broadening of its mission to support community and regional educational programs which reflect Andrew Johnson, his time period in history, and his focus on public education.
In 2012, upon the Association’s 30th Anniversary, work was begun to obtain not-for-profit (501 c-3) status, which was obtained in 2014. The Board was expanded, and support broaden for the Association.
The Association has sponsored free public presentations on “The Bridge Burners” and the Kentucky State Librarian presenting a program on “General John Hunt Morgan” as well as a program on the history of the National Park Service in Greeneville. The Association has also sponsored Michael Crutcher as Frederick Douglass, Dr. Daisy Century as Sojourner Truth, and Carolyn Evans as Harriet Tubman. These presenters gave public programs and spoke to over 1,600 school children. In addition, grants have been awarded to the Doak House Museum and the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site (NPS) for on-site school programs and transportation cost. Grants have also been awarded to Walters State Community College for the formation of a History Club on the Greeneville campus, providing support for students to attend historical presentations, and for history student scholarships.
Sponsorship of public history programs in conjunction with the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site has continued with presentations for schools and the public by the Bright Star Touring Theater company on black history and the Dineh Tah’ Navajo Dancers in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Navajo Tribe of Indians.
Effective January 2019 the Association is the Official “Friend’s Group” of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site (NPS). This is an important milestone in the history of the Association as it allows us to grow our support of history education.
As Governor Andrew Johnson said in 1853; “Can there be nothing done to advance the great cause of education?”
Rev. October 2018