Comptrollers Find Water Damage at $160 Million Tennessee State Museum Building


Three buildings that are part of the Tennessee State Museum have had water damage, including the new $160 million state museum on Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall.

This, according to a report Tennessee Comptrollers released this week.

The museum opened last fall.

At stake are many priceless artifacts from Tennessee’s long history that no amount of money could ever replace.

“Although museum management took steps to deploy adequate physical safeguards to protect artifacts from water damage, the risk remains that artifacts will suffer irreparable damage, causing not only an increase in the museum’s restoration costs but also a loss of Tennessee’s cultural history,” Comptrollers wrote.

Comptrollers said they met with members of the Tennessee Department of General Services to discuss the matter.

The new building is under warranty for one year, and the roof is under warranty for 30 years, the report stated.

“According to DGS management, from October 2018 to early February 2019, they found six leaks and repaired them. On February 6, 2019, approximately six inches of rain fell in the downtown Nashville area. On February 7, staff found two more leaks—one in an electrical closet and one in the exhibition area,” according to the audit.

“DGS management stated that no artifacts were damaged; based on discussions with museum management, staff moved the artifacts to prevent damage and put down buckets to catch the falling water.”

Comptrollers went on to say “a new leak was discovered in early March 2019. The Executive Director stated at our field exit conference on May 6, 2019, that no new leaks occurred after March 10, 2019.”

The Nashville-based Turner Construction Company won the contract to build the new state museum in 2015, according to the company’s website.

No one at Turner Construction returned The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment Friday.

Members of the Tennessee State Museum’s management said in the Comptrollers’ report they will work with DGS and contracted providers on water issues.

State officials also keep museum artifacts and exhibits at the James K. Polk Building and the War Memorial Building, both in Nashville.

Those two buildings also sustained water damage, Comptrollers wrote.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Tennessee State Museum” by TNStateMueseum. CC BY-SA 4.0.




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2 Thoughts to “Comptrollers Find Water Damage at $160 Million Tennessee State Museum Building”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Is anyone really surprised? Follow the money trail. Your tax dollars at “work”. Were there set-asides for special interest groups?

  2. Jim

    Need to check out money raised, who spent it, who contractors were, oversaw it built, … Start with Haslam and money. Just a thought.