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West Tennessee Treasures - Martin - J. Houston Gordon Museum

By Brittany Patterson
By bpatterson@wbbjtv.com

MARTIN, Tenn.- The J. Houston Gordon Museum, or the University Museum as it is better known, maybe be small in size, but it provides big things for the University of Tennessee at Martin students and the community.

"I think it opens up the world," said museum curator and head of Special Collections and Achieves, Sam Richardson. "I think it shows them different things than what they usually see."

One of those things is a three-quarter size replication of the late Governor Ned Ray McWherter's office.

"He asked us to build a recreation of the governor's office because he felt that young students - high school, junior high, and elementary students - in rural areas don't ever really get to see the governor's office," said Richardson.

The University Museum also brings in traveling exhibits.

"As of right now, we have the exhibit, 'Color In Freedom', which is paintings and prints and pencil art work dealing with the Underground Railroad," said Richardson. "We try to bring in as many exhibits as we can."

The museum curator says they also try to bring in as many visitors as possible.

"UTM really works hard to bring the community itself, not just students, but the whole community itself," said Richardson. "We try to open ourselves up to the community. We're here because of the community."

They are also there to better the community.

"That's what art is for, and that's what museums bring for people is a new understanding of the world," said Richardson.

The J. Houston Gordon Museum is located inside the University's Paul Meek Library and is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.