What makes Tennessee “Tennessee”? Explore these stories about what makes our state distinctive.

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Why does the THS have a mummy? When did East Tennessee have its own constitution? Explore the THS collections now!

Essential Tennessee

Want to know the basics about Tennessee? Explore these short entries and discover something!

National History Day in Tennessee

2024 State Contest – Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Tennessee Historical Society became the state affiliate of National History Day in the 2008-9 academic year. Since that time, student and educator participation across the state has more than doubled. Over 8300 students across the state participate in National History Day. After competing in a cycle of contests, a delegation of approximately 65 students is selected to represent Tennessee at the National History Day contest, held each June in College Park, MD.

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture, your source for Tennessee history, Tennessee politics, culture, music, heritage and more!

The online edition of the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture is a joint project of the Tennessee Historical Society and the University of Tennessee Press. This fully searchable version contains over 2,000 entries.

About the Tennessee Historical Society

Founded in 1849, the Tennessee Historical Society is the oldest continually operating historical organization in Tennessee. Until the early 20th century, the THS focused on collecting documents and artifacts related to Tennessee’s natural, aboriginal, and civil history. The artifact collection became the basis for the Tennessee State Museum, and the documents, which include manuscripts dating back to the colonial era, are now housed at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The Tennessee Historical Society has published the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal on Tennessee history, since 1942. The THS also edits the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture and publishes books and resources on Tennessee History.

In 2000, the THS began awarding the annual Wills Research Fellowship, funded by the Society’s Jesse E. Wills Memorial Fund. The award supports scholars interested in traveling to Nashville to use the society’s collections at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, and encourages scholarship on Tennessee history. In 2009, the THS began sponsoring and producing Tennessee History Day, a statewide competition for students in grades six through twelve. Students who win at the state level go on to compete at National History Day in Washington, D.C.