New Scopes Trial museum receives much needed facelift
A much-needed facelift at the Rhea Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum is now ready for people to view.
On Monday, the historic museum re-opened after receiving upgrades and renovations earlier this year.
The Rhea Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum is also the same home to a trial that gained worldwide attention in 1925.
The Scopes Trial was a landmark court case about teaching evolution in the classroom. John Scopes was a high school teacher was accused of breaking Tennessee's Butler Act, a law that banned teaching evolution in school. He was convicted, but his case was overturned just two years later.
The courthouse where the trial occurred is more than a century old, it was built in 1891 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. The 70's was also the same time the building received major renovations.
With the help of volunteers, state representatives and Gov. Bill Haslam a push to raise funds formed. A task force identified the needs to the structure and fundraised thousands of dollars. in 2017, Gov. Haslam allotted $200,000 for courthouse roof repairs, but officials learned it would cost about $700,000. This year, Haslam gave the project another $500,000 to meet the need.
"It's the story of this whole area, Bryan College, and African American history and the Trail of Tears and everything else this region is a part of and this museum and this court house will continue to tell the story about," Haslam said.
The new museum design includes large storyboards outlining the historic trial and key players. It also has an interactive touchscreen monitor with pictures from the trial.