Research & Collections

The Tennessee Historical Society collections originate with the Nashville Museum, operated by artist Ralph E.W. Earl from 1818-1827. The collections grew under the predecessors of the THS, the Tennessee Antiquarian Society (1820-1822) and the Society for the Diffusion of Knowledge (1835-1837) before the members of these two groups reorganized as the Tennessee Historical Society in 1849. Thus the THS collections represent more than 190 years of dedication by our members to preserve the history of Tennessee.

After serving several decades as the de facto state museum and archives for Tennessee – the THS collections were originally housed in the library of the State Capitol – the THS entered into a trust agreement with the State in 1927 regarding its collections. Today, the Society's manuscript, image, and publication collections are held and managed for us by the Tennessee State Library and Archives while the THS artifact collections are held and managed by the Tennessee State Museum . We greatly value our partnerships with these fine institutions.

For information on using the Society's collections for family history, professional, or scholarly research, please see the Tennessee State Library and Archives for on-line catalogs to publications and manuscripts, location and hours of operation, services available by mail, and more.

For information on viewing the Society's artifact collections, TSM exhibits, location and hours of operation, and more, please see the Tennessee State Museum.