2008 Bicentennial Celebration

The bicentennial of Andrew Johnson's birth took place during the entire calendar year of 2008.

Events that took place include:

Wreath Laying Ceremony and
Kickoff Birthday Celebration
December 29, 2007
The annual wreath laying ceremony at the grave of President Johnson was held at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. A birthday party following the wreath laying was held at the
Nathanael Greene Museum.
The event celebrated Andrew Johnson's birth and initiated the 2008 Bicentennial year.

Wreath laying at National Cemetery on Andrew Johnson's birthday
An NPS Photo
Annual wreath laying at the President's tomb on his birthday, December 29, 2007.td>

"Partisan Politics in East Tennessee on the Eve of the Civil War."
January 24, 2008
A presentation ws given by Dr. Michael Toomey.
Dr. Toomey is Managing Editor, The Journal of East Tennessee History, and an Adjunct Professor of History at Lincoln Memorial University.

"Underground Railroad: The Network to Freedom"
February 22, 2008
An illuminating program was presented by Barbara Tagger, Program Manager, Southeast Region, National Park Service at Friendship Baptist Church, Greenville, TN.

"Governor Johnson and the Gunboat Navy: Logistics, Morgan, and Johnsonville."
March 18, 2008
A presentation was given at the Niswonger Commons, Chalmers Conference Center, Tusculum College by Mr. Myron "Jack" Smith, Jr., author of LeRoy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander. Mr. Smith is Professor of Library Science and History at Tusculum College. He is the author of 76 volumes of bibliography and history.

Confederates Occupy Greeneville!
April 19, 2008
East Tennesseeans had the opportunity to embrace the rich heritage of our region as Confederate troops took over Greeneville on April 19, 2008. The Town of Greeneville changed hands more than 30 times during the Civil War and area reenactors brought that era to life during this celebration of Andrew Johnson's 200th birthday!

Confederate Reenactors
An NPS Photo
Confederate Reenactors drilling at Living History event at Andrew Johnson Homestead.td>

Emancipation Day - August 8th Conference
April 25-27, 2008
The African American Task Force Coalition of East TN held their second conference to recognize an historic celebration. The conference was held April 25-27, 2008 in Greeneville, TN. On August 8, 1863, future President Andrew Johnson freed his personal slaves. Years later, the date was chosen to celebrate the emancipation of African Americans throughout Tennessee. While the celebration has faded into memory in many communities, others continue to recognize this special day, much like Juneteenth in other parts of the country.

Organization of American Historians
May 2-4, 2008
During the week of May 1, 2008 a group of three scholars, hosted by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Organization of American Historians, visited the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site to reflect on new scholarly perspectives that are related to Andrew Johnson's life and times.

Visit the Organization of American Historians website.

Tennessee Johnson
May 16, 2008
Remember Friday night at the movies...in 1943? The 1943 film "Tennessee Johnson," starring Van Heflin, Ruth Hussey, and Lionel Barrymore appeared for one evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Greeneville, TN. Young and old joined for some popcorn, a movie, and commentary by Dr. Robert Orr. Sponsored by the Museums of Tusculum College and the Nathanael Greene Museum. Film donated to the archives of Tusculum College by Turner Classic Movies.

Living History onsite

An NPS photo.

Union reenactors provide living history on the grounds of the Andrew Johnson Homestead.

Civil War Living History Demonstration
May 17, 2008
Civil War reenactors provided living history demonstrations on the grounds of the Andrew Johnson Homestead.

Memorial Day Service
May 30, 2008
Celebrated on the traditional Memorial Day, this solemn and impressive ceremony in the National Cemetery paid tribute to America's veterans.

National Cemetery with WWII crosses

Boy Scout's

An NPS Photo

Jim Allen teaches Boy Scouts about Civil War history.

Civil War Living History
July 26, 2008
Civil War reenactors provided living history on the grounds of the Andrew Johnson Homestead. Boy Scouts learned the fundamentals of Civil War soldier life and completed requirements for a number of merit badges.

Andrew Johnson Day
Greeneville Astros Stadium
July 31, 2008
The Greeneville Astros joined the community in celebrating the life of Andrew Johnson. Bobble heads of the former president were given to the first 1000 fans through the gates. "President Andrew Johnson" threw the opening pitch while the successes of his administration were announced to the audience.

An NPS Photo
"Andrew Johnson," portrayed by Daniel Luther, prepares to throw the opening pitch of the Greeneville Astros game to park Superintendent Lizzie Watts.td>
Cutting the ribbon

An NPS Photo

Former and current park employees join for the ribbon-cutting to commemorate the National Cemetery's 100th year of operation.

Ribbon Cutting for National Cemetery Centennial
August 3, 2008
Within the Bicentennial year of Andrew Johnson's birth, the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery celebrates its Centennial. The event was recognized with two new exhibit panels outlining the history of the cemetery and its dedication to serving America's veterans.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held August 3, 2008 at the Andrew Johnson Visitor Center. August 3rd marked the 133rd anniversary of the day Andrew Johnson was buried atop Signal Hill, thereby becoming the first interment in what would become the National Cemetery.

Chetter Galloway

An NPS Photo

Chetter Galloway telling stories to children for the Aug. 8th Emancipation Day celebration.

Emancipation Day Celebration of Stories
August 8, 2008
Emancipation Day Celebration of Stories, Master Storyteller, Chetter Galloway presented "Free at Last: Now Let Me Fly!" at the Boy's and Girls Club, Greeneville, TN


An NPS Photo

The 113th U.S. Army Band performing at the celebration of the Bicentennial of Andrew Johnson and the 221st Anniversary of the Constitution.

Andrew Johnson Day
September 17, 2008

The Museum of Tusculum College celebrated the Bicentennial of Andrew Johnson and the 221st Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution
September 17, 2008
On National Constitution Day, a grand celebration was held. The event was held at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center (NPAC) in Greeneville, Tennessee. The family-oriented program featured the 113th U.S. Army Band, the Dragoons, from Ft. Knox. It is the second oldest military band in the country, and it played for President Lincoln’s and Vice-President Johnson’s inaugural parade.
Union and Confederate recruiting posts were set up and manned by Civil War re-enactors outside NPAC prior to the program. A Multi-media presentation started at 7:00 and recounted the fascinating history of Andrew Johnson through sights, sounds and narration.

In honor of National Constitution Day each guest received a personal copy of the U.S. Constitution. The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site had displays related to National Constitution day, and other displays participated as well. The theme of the event was “Andrew Johnson: Heritage, Legacy, and Our Constitution.” The event was sponsored by the Museums of Tusculum College, the Andrew Johnson Bicentennial Committee and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area in cooperation with the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Symposium on Andrew Johnson
September 18th

The theme of “Andrew Johnson: Heritage, Legacy, and Our Constitution” continued on September 18, 2008 with a symposium hosted by the Museums of Tusculum College. This Symposium explored the 17th President’s life, his Presidency, and our Constitution.

The program was held on the campus of historic Tusculum College. Speakers included:
Dr. Eric Foner of Columbia University,
Dr. Paul Bergeron of the University of Tennessee - Knoxville,
Dr. Robert Orr of Walters State and Washington College Academy, and
Dr. Michael Kent Curtis of Wake Forest University School of Law.

Topics included the early years of Andrew Johnson, the Civil War period, Reconstruction, and Constitutional Amendments passed during Reconstruction – their importance “then and now.” The program concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Oliver Thomas, executive director of the Niswonger Foundation.

Visit: https://home.nps.gov/applications/redirect/?sUrl=http://ajmuseum.tusculum.edu/

AJ Birthplace
An NPS Photo
The Birthplace of Andrew Johnson, Mordecai Historic Park, Raleigh, North Carolinatd>
Dr. Hans Trefousse

An NPS Photo

Dr. Hans Trefousse, author of Andrew Johnson: A Biography

Andrew Johnson: Origins, Legacy, Memory Symposium
October 4, 2008
Mordecai Historic Park, Raleigh, North Carolina commemorated the 200th birthday of one of America's most debated and least understood presidents.

There were presentations by:
Dr. Harry Watson: Andrew Johnson's Raleigh;
Dr. Michele Gillepsie: Widowhood, Weaving, and Mary Johnson;
Dr. Karin Ziff: Apprenticeships in Early 19th Century North America; and
Dr. Hans Trefousse: Johnson's Legacy

Education Day
An NPS Photo
Education Day at the Battle of Blue Springs reenactment.td>
Blue Springs battle reenactment

An NPS Photo

Reenactors bring the Battle of Blue Springs to life

Battle of Blue Springs
October 10-12, 2008
Reenactors brought the Battle of Blue Springs and the Battle of Rheatown to life over the weekend. There were living history demonstrations and an education day for students.


Arts in the Park Exhibition
October 18, 2008
Main Street: Greeneville sponsored an Arts in the Park exhibition on the lawn of the Andrew Johnson Homestead. There were demonstrations by various artists and artisans, as well as oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings, signed and numbered prints of the paintings, signed and numbered pen & ink giclees, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, engraved & stained glass, collectable dolls, quilts, and a chess set.

Leslie Baker-Cole

An NPS Photo

Leslie Baker-Cole singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" during the Let Freedom Ring celebration.

An Evening at the President's Home
October 23, 2008
The Andrew Johnson Homestead hosted a special event from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m with the house open after-hours. At 6:30 an interpretive program was held which honored the October 24th, 1864 emancipation of Tennessee's slaves by Military Governor Andrew Johnson.

Park guide Daniel Luther portrayed Andrew Johnson and revisited the speech given by Johnson in Nasville. Other guests included first grade students of East View Elementary and Ms. Leslie Baker-Cole.

"'High Crimes and Misdemeanors': The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson"
November 12, 2008
Dr. Paul H. Bergeron, professor of history emeritus, University of Tennessee, presented a lecture on Andrew Johnson's impeachment. The address was given at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville, TN, 601 S. Gay Street.

Dr. Bergeron discussed the background of the political conflicts leading to Johnson's impeachment and examined the behind-the-scenes maneuvers by both Johnson and the Senate during the trial.

Andrew Johnson: The Last Jacksonian
November 15, 2008
The Nolichuckey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Andrew Johnson NHS hosted a presentation by William Hardy as part of the bicentennial celebration of President Johnson's birth.

Andrew Johnson Lecture
December 1, 2008
Jefferson Davis and Andrew Johnson were born in 1808. At noon on December 1, 2008, Dan Carter of the University of South Carolina gave a lecture to commemorate Johnson, a Raleigh native, in the House Chamber of the North Carolina State Capitol.

An NPS Photo
Wreaths on the graves of veterans in the National Cemeterytd>
Seven ceremonial wreaths

An NPS Photo

Service members carrying the wreaths

Wreaths Across America Program
December 13, 2008
An impressive and solemn ceremony was held in the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery to honor our past and current veterans.

Seven wreaths representing each branch of service, including one for POW/MIA, were carried to the crest of Andrew Johnson National Cemetery.

Bicentennial wreath laying
An NPS Photo
A commemorative wreath ordered by the current President is laid at the gravesite of the 17th President, Andrew Johnson, on his 200th birthday.td>
monument with luminaries

Presidential Birthday Celebration
and Wreath Laying
December 29, 2008
The culmination of the Bicentennial year was an extravaganza. A birthday party was held at Towne Square shopping center in Greenville, TN, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Inside the heated tent was birthday cake, music, and a special postal cachet commemorating the event.

At 6:30, a wreath was laid on the grave of the 17th President. Each year the current President sends a wreath to be laid at the grave of his deceased predecessors on their birthday. Over 1500 luminaries lighted the National Cemetery. At 7:00 p.m. a fireworks display was a grand finale to the celebration.

Beginning at 8:00 p.m., the gates of the National Cemetery were open for traffic to view the luminaries lighting the pathways of the National Cemetery. The Cemetery closed at 9:00 p.m.

fireworks behind monument
An NPS Photo
Fireworks add a dazzling end to the 200th celebration of President Andrew Johnson's birth.td>

Raleigh's Own President: Andrew Johnson's Life in North Carolina Exhibit
November 21, 2008 - January 16, 2009
Born in Raleigh in 1808, few would have guessed from Andrew Johnson's less than privileged upbringing that he would go on to become the 17th President of the United States. Too poor to attend school, Johnson was apprenticed at age ten to work for James J. Selby, a local tailor. In that shop, he learned two skills that would change his path in life; how to perform the tailor's craft and how to read. Discover Johnson's roots in North Carolina, his tumultuous presidency, and his historic impeachment trial in commemoration of his 200th birthday. This exhibit will be on display on the second floor rotunda of the North Carolina State Capitol.

Tennessee State Capitol An Unbending Spirit: Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of President Andrew Johnson's Birth
December 19, 2008 - June 28, 2009
The Tennessee State Museum will mount an exhibit near Johnson's bust in the historic State Capitol, near the House Chamber. The Capitol is a fitting place for the exhibit. Andrew Johnson was elected governor in 1853, the first year that the building was used as the seat of state government. He also served as military governor during the Civil War, when the fortified building was known as Fort Johnson.

The Capitol is open for guided tours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Christmas, New Years, and Easter holidays. Admission to the Capitol is free.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
121 Monument Ave.

Greeneville, TN 37743


(423) 638-3551

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