[April 8, 2022] - Nashville Zoo is thrilled to announce that the Morton Family Exhibit and the Morton Exhibit Opening Ceremony were both given the Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM) in March of 2022.
The Zoo's Grassmere location has a rich history of people that lived on the land before it was transformed into what guests know today as Nashville Zoo. The Morton Family Exhibit which opened in June of 2021 aims to shed some light on this history as visitors explore the Zoo.
The Grassmere property dates back to a land grant in 1786 and has been home to many people, including enslaved individuals and Black tenant farmers. Grassmere Historic Home was built in 1810 and five generations lived in the home all the way up until 1985. From the time it was built until the time of Emancipation, about 33 enslaved individuals lived, worked and died at Grassmere.
In the early 1900s, Frank Morton and his family came to the Grassmere property to live and work as tenant farmers. The Morton's were crucial to the success of Grassmere and the Zoo wanted to recognize and honor their contributions.
Over the past couple of years, staff at Nashville Zoo researched and designed an exhibit to tell the story of the Morton family and the importance of their work. The cabin where Frank Morton and his family lived, located near the Historic Home, now showcases this exhibit.
Nashville Zoo staff that worked on this project wanted to create an immersive, story-like experience that honored the people and families that lived and worked on the Grassmere farm. The Morton Family Exhibit is open daily for guests to explore on their own and learn more about the Mortons.
"We are so honored to be recognized by TAM with two Awards of Excellence for the Morton Family Exhibit and the Morton Family Exhibit Opening Ceremony," said Nashville Zoo's Historic Site Manager Tori Mason. "We wanted to highlight the importance of the Morton family's contributions to Grassmere and felt we did so with this exhibit."
The Zoo proudly accepts these two Awards of Excellence from TAM and encourages all to stop by the Morton Family Exhibit. For more info on the cabin, visit www.nashvillzoo.org.
About Nashville Zoo
Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization celebrating 25 years at Grassmere. The Zoo is an accredited member of the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums, exemplifying the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. Nashville Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs, and education initiatives in our backyard as well as around the world. With support from the Nashville community, donors, and sponsors, the Zoo is ranked the number one tourist attraction in Middle Tennessee and welcomes more than one million guests annually. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike just six miles south of downtown. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit nashvillezoo.org.