Alexander exhibit opening garners community interest

Alexander exhibit opening garners community interest
By Ann Marie Deer Owen

Journalists, political leaders, colleagues of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, and, of course, Tennessee’s senior senator were at the Central Library Sept. 26 for various events surrounding the opening of “Come on along! Lamar Alexander’s Journey as Governor.”

Reporters for the Associated Press and WPLN (Nashville Public Radio), photographers for WKRN (local ABC affiliate) and WZTV (local Fox News), along with two student journalists, attended the media preview. Held in the fourth floor lobby, the preview gave Alexander the opportunity to give the media a tour and discuss the significance of the collection.

Historic video, transcripts and correspondence surrounding Alexander’s early swearing-in as governor are included in the exhibit, which features six interactive touch screens. Campaign scrapbooks, examples of Alexander’s signature red and black plaid shirt and the trombone that he played nights at a Bourbon Street club while clerking for Fifth Circuit Judge Minor Wisdom are among the items. There are photos of prominent musicians who were friends with Alexander, including Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and Roy Acuff. The first Nissan truck built in Tennessee at the plant in Smyrna that opened in 1983 has been loaned from Nissan North America and is on display in the main lobby.

Coverage included anAssociated Press story that was picked up by the Tennessean, WTVF (local CBS affiliate), Houston Chronicle and Knoxville News Sentinel. The News Sentinel included photos of the media preview that were taken by photographer Steve Green. Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr and Green Hills News columnist Dru Fuller also wrote about the exhibit. The official news release on Aug. 22 about the collection and exhibit prompted coverage by the Associated Press, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Knoxville News Sentinel and WSMV (local NBC affiliate). WSMV ran video provided by Vanderbilt News and Communications.

Following the media preview, Sen. Alexander was a surprise guest at a staff luncheon hosted by Dean of Libraries Connie Dowell.

The day was capped off with an opening reception hosted by Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos and Lydia Howarth to honor Sen. Alexander and his wife, Honey Alexander. Major library donors, elected officials and other Vanderbilt constituents were in attendance. Also there were also several longtime friends and colleagues of Alexander. The exhibit will be open through Aug. 12, 2012.

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