James K. Polk Home and Museum

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James K. Polk Home and Museum

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The only surviving residence of James K. Polk other than the White House, this painted brick structure is one of the best examples of Federal-style architecture in Tennessee. Samuel Polk, a prosperous farmer and surveyor, built the house in 1816 while his oldest son James was attending the University of North Carolina. When the future President graduated in 1818, he returned to Tennessee and stayed here with his parents until his marriage to Sarah Childress in 1824. While living in his family’s Columbia home, James practiced law and began his political career by successfully running for the state legislature. Visitors today get to see original possessions of President and Mrs. Polk including furniture, paintings, clothing, and White House china.

Polk Presidential Hall: This exhibition facility hosts a series of original and traveling exhibits that relate to the U.S. Presidency and American society and culture during James K. Polk’s lifetime.  This exhibition facility hosts a series of original and traveling exhibits that relate to the U.S. Presidency and American society and culture during James K. Polk’s lifetime.

The Sister's House:  Adjacent to the main house is the 1818 Sisters’ House. It is here that two of the President’s married sisters lived with their families at different times. Today the building serves as the site’s visitor center. Guests start their visit with a 12-minute orientation video before exploring the rest of the property. The Sisters’ House also houses a museum room and a museum shop. Some of the most significant artifacts from the site’s collections are found here, including: daguerreotypes of President and Mrs. Polk; White House gifts and mementos; campaign memorabilia from the Election of 1844; and Sarah Polk’s Inaugural fan with miniature portraits of the first eleven Presidents.

The Gardens:  The site’s landscaped grounds include an herb garden, a formal boxwood garden, and a white azalea garden. The gardens feature objects and plantings from the grounds of James K. Polk’s final home, a downtown Nashville mansion that was torn down in 1901. Examples include a cast iron fountain and decorative urns.

The Kitchen: The Polk Home’s detached kitchen building was reconstructed in 1946 on the original foundation. Visitors to the kitchen see period cooking implements and household accessories. On special occasions, the site presents open hearth cooking demonstrations here.

GROUP TOURS

Groups of ten or more are eligible for special discounts on admission with advance reservations.

For school field trips, the Polk Home’s staff will work with teachers to develop tours that relate to class studies.

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James K. Polk Home and Museum

301 W. 7th Street
Columbia, TN 38401

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