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Bradley Academy Museum, Murfreesboro

#24 of 36 in Things to do in Murfreesboro
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Bradley Academy Museum is a historic school building in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, that now serves as a museum and community center.
The original Bradley Academy was established in 1811 near Jefferson, the original county seat of Rutherford County, as the county's first school. Its namesake was John Bradley, an officer in the American Revolutionary War, who donated the land that the first school was built on. The school later relocated to Murfreesboro and operated as a school for white students until the 1850s. In 1884, Bradley Academy was revived to become the county's first school for African Americans.
The current building was built circa 1917–8 and was operated as a school for African-American children until 1955, when the school moved to the current Bradley Academy location on Mercury Boulevard. Murfreesboro City Schools converted the building into a maintenance facility.
In 1990 the Bradley Academy Historical Association formed with the purpose of restoring the building for community use. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places that same year. The organization obtained funding for the restoration project from sources including the Christy-Houston Foundation, the Tennessee state government, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The building opened as a community center in 2000. It hosts exhibits on the history of Rutherford County, particularly of African Americans in the area.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
8 reviews
  • Remarkable institution history as first school established in Rutherford County, President James K. Polk attending scholar, original formal education site for African American students. The museum...  more »
  • This museum was excellent. Gave history of Rutherford County and The Battle of Nashville during the Civil War!  more »
  • When I was young, this school was the only place for the African Americans in Murfreesboro to get a public education. It and Holloway HS were for the black students in our area. With integration, they were shut down but luckily, local citizens had the foresight to preserve the building and some artifacts. James K Polk also attended a school there prior to it becoming a school for African Americans. Please support this sight and let's all remember that it was not that long ago that we had unbelievable inequality in our town and many others.
  • Loved the History through the Arts Camp. Vonchelle is dedicated. My boys love her.

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