Nashville: The Hermitage

The very last attraction we got to experience was our seventh president, Andrew Jackson’s, home in Nashville which he called The Hermitage. 

The attraction costs $17/adult and, in our opinion, is definitely worth the money. 
When we first arrived, we were given one set of headphones, a digital audio player, and a museum map complete with numbers at each point of interest that you could plug your headphones into the digital player and listen to interesting facts and stories on that specific part of the tour.  We had never been on an audio tour before, and we firmly believe it enriched our experience at the Hermitage.

Overall, we loved visiting the Hermitage for the history of it (although the slave aspect of it was enough to make anyone dislike Jackson). 

The experience started in mid-sized theater room where we watched a 20 minute video about Andrew Jackson and his house.  Then, we were turned lose to wind our way throughout the property.  The first stop was the museum which held artifacts that had once belonged to the Jacksons.

Andrew Jackson

Lifesized statues of Andrew and his beloved wife Rachel.

Rachael Jackson

Slave grown/harvested cotton was the main export of the Jackson house. 

Cotton at the Hermitage

Jackson owned hundreds of slaves who kept house, cooked, tended the crops, and managed the grounds for him.  He was a tough man, from which he earned the nickname “Old Hickory.”  The museum didn’t pussyfoot around the fact that Jackson wasn’t a good slave owner; in fact, he was one of the main proponents of the belief that white men have a God-given right to own slaves as property.

Below is an example of a newspaper clipping offering a reward for the return of a runaway slave.

Newspaper notice of a runaway slave

The Hermitage

Rachel Donelson Jackson, his wife

Rachael Jackson

His very fancy carriage

Andrew Jackson's carriage

Artifacts from Andrew Jackson's house

 

After the museum (which takes about 30-45 to see everything), we took a breathtaking five-minute walk to the mansion.  The walk is gorgeous; this was a good time for us to take advantage of the narrated audio tour.  

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

to the actual mansion, a two-story, eight-room, Federal-style brick building.  It was completed between 1819 and 1821 and was built using slave labor.  It’s quite a sight to see; large and stately, it looks like a mini White House, complete with Doric columns. 

The Hermitage of Andrew Jackson

The Hermitage of Andrew Jackson

When we got to the front door, a woman dressed in period servant garb kindly welcomed us in.  She showed us all around the house, and we saw Jackson’s study, bedroom, and Rachel’s bedroom.  Many pieces of furniture were owned by the Jackson family, and some of the original wallpaper still hangs on the walls.

We were not allowed to take pictures in this part of the house unfortunately.

We did, however, get pictures of the dining room and formal sitting room. 

Dining room at the Hermitage

Dining room at the Hermitage

The Hermitage

Sitting room at the Hermitage

When we finally reached the back of the house, we found an unattached kitchen and smokehouse.

The Hermitage of Andrew Jackson

A slave-calling bell system; if Jackson or his wife wanted a specific servant, he or she would ring a specific bell to call that slave.

Slave calling system at the Hermitage 

The smokehouse

Smokehouse at the Hermitage

 

Both Jackson and his wife, Rachel, are buried in a temple-like structure in the gardens to the east of the property.  Many of Jackson’s family are also buried here in the small graveyard.

Headstone for a Grand Master

Slave headstone at the Hermitage

Graveyard at the Hermitage

Columbine

Originally, this was Jackson’s cabin, his temporary home while his mansion was being built.  Later on, it would be converted into a home for slaves.

The Slaves' Cabin at the Hermitage

The Slaves' Cabin at the Hermitage

Overall, we feel the Hermitage is a Nashville attraction you don’t want to miss!  We definitely recommend!

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