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The original item was published from 9/22/2021 10:39:44 AM to 9/26/2021 12:00:08 AM.

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Leisure Services

Posted on: September 22, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Exhibits to ‘escape’ during Saturday's Night at the Museums

Night at the Museums - Richard Fielding Cooke

COOKEVILLE – Anyone who has visited the Cookeville History Museum has seen his picture on the wall.

The black top hat. The suit. The distinguished gaze from a time long ago that belonged to Cookeville’s namesake, Richard Fielding Cooke.

But on Sept. 25, citizens will have an opportunity to meet the man himself – sort of – when he and other “exhibits” escape during Night at the Museums.

“Night at the Museums is a fun night out with your friends and family,” Beth Thompson, Cookeville museums manager, said. “You’ll be entertained and hear a few stories about Cookeville’s past.”

The event is free, and programs may be picked up outside the Cookeville History Museum, 40 E. Broad St., or Cookeville Depot Museum, 116 W. Broad St., starting at 7 p.m. Walk-ups are welcome at any of the seven stops along Broad Street between the two museums.

“Our exhibits stage their big escape at 7 p.m., but you can drop in any time before 9 p.m.,” Thompson said. “You can join in on a few of the stories or stay for all seven – whatever your schedule allows. A bit of warning though: our actors are very talented and engaging. Once you get started it will be difficult to walk away.”

In addition to chatting with Cooke (portrayed by former City Councilman Dwight Henry), participants can expect to meet a couple of soldiers who will share stories about Cookeville during World War II, learn some Princess Theatre and Putnam Drive-In history and discover some musical ties to Tennessee Tech University.

“You can also hear about Marina Gunter’s Civil War battle,” Thompson said. “Never heard of it? There’s only one way to find out. And did you know there was once a petrified man discovered in this area? You can hear the whole story at Night at the Museums.”

Participants may move between the seven stops (stationed by living history actors) at their own pace in any order. Each story lasts five to seven minutes. 

“We all know Cookeville is a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Thompson said. “But sometimes we can miss all of the stories that make it extra special.”

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