Bonne Crigger, Board President; Dr. Albert Wardin; and Mark Brown, Executive Director with The Commissioner's Award, May 10, 2017, Nashville, Tennessee
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the Metro Nashville Historical Commission honored Founding Member Dr. Albert Wardin and Belmont Mansion Executive Director Mark Brown with Lifetime Achievement Awards for their work with Belmont Mansion.
Belmont Mansion's journey towards a historic home and museum began in 1971 when then history professor, Dr. Albert Wardin, worked to have the site placed on the National Register of Historical Places. Dr. Wardin's passion for the beautiful antebellum home situated in the middle of Belmont College's campus was the catalyst needed to begin restoration efforts.
The following year Dr. Wardin, together with several Belmont College students and professors , created the Belmont Mansion Association. This committee began investigative work to explore the home's architectural features and find original furnishings.
In those early years, Mark Brown was involved with Belmont Mansion as a member of the student auxiliary group. Belmont Mansion opened for tours on July 3, 1976, with Mark Brown as the first docent. In 1986, Mr. Brown was hired as Executive Director and he has gracefully led the museum since then.
The past 46 years have been years of dynamic growth for Belmont Mansion. What started as a neglected building on a college campus has been transformed into the largest house museum in Tennessee. For nearly five decades, Dr. Wardin and Mr. Brown have tirelessly worked to research, restore and curate the home's colorful history. Their lifetime dedication to Belmont Mansion has made the museum what it is today. All of us at Belmont Mansion are grateful for their passion and dedication.