Updated Rhea Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum opens

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, other politicians, and members of the group that made the renovation of the Rhea Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum possible stand on stage after opening ceremony at Dayton Courthouse lawn on Monday.(Photo:GaryBolden/RheaReview)

Governor Haslam cuts ribbon to commemorate the opening

June 2018

Dayton, TN —  Rhea County Courthouse lawn received a large influx of politicians, media, local residents for the ribbon cutting for the newly spruced up Rhea Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum.  The new design was a collaboration between local Rhea County Restoration Task Force and design firm Advent.

The museum is dedicated to the Scopes trial back in 1925 and the battlefront for clash of evolution and the Bible.    The main actors in the clash were Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, who each have statue on opposites sides of the courthouse lawn.   Scopes was actually found guilty of breaking the law in effect for teaching evolution, but the charges were later dropped.  What has not dropped has been the battle since over evolution and the Bible.

Governor Haslam spoke on courthouse lawn and said, “A significant event in American History happened right here.  But there is more to this.  This is a story of a community coming together to say “history happened here and we want to certain people remember for a long time.  People who came together to raise $50,000, raised $140,000.  This says everything you need to know about the spirit of Rhea County.  We thank our friends Ron and Laura Travis for spearheading this.”

Talking about the new museum after his tour, Governor Haslam said, “It tells the story in a great way.  A son of this community(Advent CEO John Roberson), did the design, which makes it more fun.  They have done a remarkable job of preserving the courtroom.  Now you can go downstairs and really understand the whole story.”

There were also other funds secured for a new roof and other repairs for the courthouse.


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