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Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park Honored for Interpretation

Thursday, August 26, 2021 | 02:18pm

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has honored Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park with the Tennessee State Parks Award for Excellence in Interpretation. The park received the honor at a recent park management conference at Pickwick Landing State Park.

“Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park does an outstanding job of embracing history and making it come alive for park visitors,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC, said. “The staff works hard to make the park experience meaningful, and it is well-deserving of this award.”

When the park had to cancel live interpretive events because of the pandemic, it converted them into a digital format. It utilized social media and with the digital approach brought Tennessee history into the home. It created interpretive videos for educational outreach, and the staff created several video series to highlight the diversity of Tennessee’s history. The park was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Tennessee Wars Commission to expand the quality of African American interpretation in the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. The staff used funds from the grant to fund the construction of two outdoor classrooms in the park’s amphitheater, separated by century, one for the 18th century and one for the 19th century. 

The park commemorated its 25th anniversary on Tennessee Statehood Day on June 1 with a variety of interpretive programs, which was a big success. The park managed to present a strong programming year despite the pandemic.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park lies in the shadow of the State Capitol and emphasizes history in its setting. Visitors to the park can experience many facets of Tennessee history including a 200-foot granite map of the state.

The Tennessee State Parks Awards of Excellence also recognized winners in other specific categories. They included Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park for customer engagement; Pickett State Park for facilities management; Pickwick Landing State Park for sustainability; Warriors’ Path State Park for innovation; and Johnsonville State Park for resource management. Cummins Falls State Park was named Park of the Year for overall excellence.