For over fifty years, Travellers Rest has been an integral part in the Nashville and the Middle Tennessee museums community. Saved from demolition in 1954 by The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Tennessee (NSCDA-TN), the historic house, built originally in 1799, was restored to interpret the early 19th century life of Judge John Overton, one of the state’s first Supreme Court Justices , the founder of Memphis and a close personal friend of Andrew Jackson. Our interpretive and educational mission has evolved and expanded to include almost 1,000 years of cultural development of the mid-Cumberland Basin, from the area’s prehistoric origins as a Native American settlement, to Nashville as an outpost on America’s first frontier, to the Civil War and the city’s emergence as a leading capitol of the New South. Today, Travellers Rest, a National Register property, is recognized as a model of preservation excellence.
Since the mid-19th century Americans have learned about the nation’s past by visiting historic house museums. “Old Houses”, like Travellers Rest, are a staple of many family vacations, school field trips, and special events. When The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Tennessee (NSCDA-TN) acquired Travellers Rest in 1954, roughly 800 historic house museums existed in the United States. The number of history organizations now represent over half of America’s active museums.