The Tennessee Historical Commission is the State Historic Preservation Office for Tennessee and has multiple programs related to historic preservation and history. Its mission is to protect, preserve, interpret, maintain, and administer historic places; to encourage the inclusive diverse study of Tennessee's history for the benefit of future generations; to mark important locations, persons, and events in Tennessee history; to assist in worthy publication projects; to review, comment on, and identify projects that will potentially impact historic properties; to locate, identify, record, and nominate to the National Register of Historic Places all properties which meet National Register criteria; and to implement other programs of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended. The Tennessee Historical Commission is an independent state agency, administratively attached to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The staff and executive director are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the office.
The Tennessee Historical Commission is also a twenty-nine member board. Twenty-four members, equally divided among the three grand divisions of the state, are appointed by the Governor and five are ex officio members. The ex officio members are the Governor, the State Historian, the State Archaeologist, the Commissioner of Environment and Conservation, the State Librarian and Archivist. When mandated by state law, the Commission is authorized to vote on new laws generated through the legislative process. More information on the appointed Commission can be found in Boards and Commissions below.