Located in the old Borden Milk Plant at 521 South Main Street in Fayetteville, the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Museum and Civic Center houses the second largest agricultural exhibit in the state of Tennessee.
Historic household items that the Smithsonian once desired to obtain are also among the collection of exhibits in the museum, as well as extensive military displays that feature the life and times of Adm. Frank Kelso, a Fayetteville son who went on to serve as commander of the joint chiefs of staff for the United States. Other highlights include a one-room schoolhouse, a country store and post office, Native American artifacts, and a military exhibit, all housed inside the museum.
Operated solely by volunteers, the facility is open for tours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays May through November. It is closed December through April but may be open for group tours with advanced notice.
The Borden Plant itself is historic. Built in 1927, the plant is credited with bringing Lincoln County out of the Great Depression, having provided the only cash flow for the largely agricultural population. At its peak of operations, it employed 75 people and purchased milk from over 1,200 farmers in Lincoln and adjoining counties. One of the first major industries to come south of the Mason-Dixon Line after the Civil War, the plant paid area farmers $25,000 for their milk during its first month of operation. The plant was designed to convert raw milk into packaged butter. The leftover skimmed milk was converted to dried or powered milk. Whey, leftover from the process, was used by farmers as an important feed supplement for their hogs. Later, the plant developed a process for converting skimmed milk into cottage cheese.
The structure was donated to the Museum Association by William R. Carter of CFW Construction Co. in 1987.