Blount Mansion Celebrates U.S. Constitution Week Sept. 13-18

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Blount Mansion Celebrates U.S. Constitution Week Sept. 13-18

Posted: 09/13/2004
Blount Mansion, a National Historical Landmark and home of a signer of the U.S. Constitution, is hosting a series of special events September 13-18 in celebration of U.S. Constitution Week. The commemoration of the 217th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution includes tours of William Blount's home, brown bag lectures on political topics, a photography exhibition, walking tours, and voter registration drive.

"Our goal is to show the U.S. Constitution as a living document and not simply as an historic artifact," says Blount Mansion executive director Lee Creech "Today's news is filled with stories of a tightly contested presidential election, proposed Constitutional amendments, and debates on civil liberties. The Constitution is as much a part of our everyday lives in 2004 as it was for William Blount and the other founding fathers in 1787."

The week begins with a free brown bag lecture at the Blount Mansion Visitors Center in downtown Knoxville. Patricia Brake, director of the Episcoal School of Knoxville's middle school and historical author, will discuss the history of the federal justice system in East Tennessee at noon on Monday, September 13. Brake, the author of Justice in the Valley, will discuss two centuries of evolution in the federal court systems in the region and landmark cases. Guests are encouraged to bring a sack lunch to enjoy during the free program.

A second brown bag lecture at noon on Thursday, September 16, will explore the role of special interest groups in influencing the legislative and executive branches of government. Dr. Anthony Nownes, political science professor from the University of Tennessee, will discuss the role and influence of groups on both sides of political aisle.

Two significant new additions to Blount Mansion's annual Constitution Week agenda this year are a photo exhibit of local photographers' efforts to document Blount Mansion. The photos were entries in the National Park Service's annual "Imaging Our National Heritage" competition. Local entries depicting Blount Mansion will be on display in the Blount Mansion Visitors Center.

Blount Mansion will also offer guided walking tours of downtown Knoxville with a themed tour, "A Constitutional Stroll." The tour will guide visitors to sites associated with Constitutional signer William Blount, President Andrew Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Edward Sanford, as well as current and historical federal buildings, sites associated with landmark Constitutional cases, and sites associated with various political personalities including presidents, congressmen, and activists. Tours will be offered on Thursday, September 16, and Friday, September 17, at 6 p.m. A Saturday morning tour will also be offered on Saturday, September 18, at 10 a.m. Cost of the tour is $5 per person. Each tour will depart from the Blount Mansion Visitors Center in downtown Knoxville and will last approximately one hour.

Tours of the mansion will be offered hourly during Constitution Week during the Mansion's regular operating hours. Adult admission is $4.95; children's admission is $2.50; children under six are admitted free with adult admission. The Mansion is located in downtown Knoxville at 200 West Hill Avenue, overlooking the Tennessee River. Free parking is available on the site for visitors.

Blount Mansion is open Monday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Mansion is closed on Sundays. Mansion tours start at the top of each hour, with the last tour beginning at 4 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at the Blount Mansion Visitors Center earlier than the top of the hour to allow time to purchase tickets, view exhibits, and explore gift ideas in the Blount Mansion Museum Shop.

Blount Mansion, the little house with Big Stories to tell, is Knox County's only National Historic Landmark, a federal designation indicating exceptional value or quality in illustrating and interpreting the heritage of the United States. The Mansion is operated by the Blount Mansion Association, Inc., a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to preserving the Blount Mansion, and to inspiring an appreciation of national, state, and local history and the lives of those who lived and worked there. Blount Mansion tells the stories of being the home and capitol of the first and only governor of the Southwest Territory, William Blount, his family, and ten African-Americans. Blount, an America founding father and signer of the U.S. Constitution, played a pivotal role in Tennessee becoming the sixteenth state.