New exhibit spotlights Johnson legacy

3:24 pm | January 10, 2014

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville will showcase its newest rotating exhibit, “From a Living Legacy to a Descendant’s Dream,” through March.

The exhibit highlights the efforts of Margaret Johnson Patterson Bartlett, the great-granddaughter of the nation’s 17th president, Andrew Johnson, to preserve the story of her ancestor.

In the early 1920s, Andrew Johnson Patterson, Margaret’s father, deeded the Johnson Tailor Shop to the State of Tennessee. This would be one of the first steps in a 43-year long journey to establish the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Park superintendent Lizzie Watts stated that Bartlett was the prime champion of creating the site. She visited Congress on numerous occasions to plead her case, and she was successful.

The exhibit includes a number of photographs of Bartlett and a concise history of the challenges that she faced in her efforts to preserve the Andrew Johnson story and making the site become a unit of the National Park Service. Once the homestead was established as a National Park Service unit, Bartlett served as guide and historian. Featured in the exhibit is a lace cap that belonged to First Lady Eliza Johnson. It was not uncommon for Bartlett to wear the cap while giving tours of the Homestead.


First Lady Eliza Johnson

First Lady Eliza Johnson

The exhibit will be available for viewing through March. The Visitor Center is located at 101 North College St., Greeneville. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, call the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Visitor Center at 638-3551.

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