Developed by Woodbury’s own Savannah Grandey as part of her graduate training at the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, the exhibit explores the history and significance of the Soil Conservation Service—now the Natural Resource Conservation Service—in Cannon County during the mid-twentieth century. The photos in the exhibit belong to a much larger collection, the majority of which were taken by W. L. Clement, Cannon County’s soil conservationist from 1951 to 1974.
Much like other employees of New Deal agencies, county soil conservationists were instructed to photograph the activity of their respective soil conservation districts, documenting federally encouraged land reform, education, and rural progress. The photographs served to popularize federal intervention and shape the American public’s definition of conservation. Fulfilling his role as Cannon County’s soil conservationist, W.L. Clement created a record of evolving landscapes, agricultural innovations, and local tradition.
The exhibit was funded by the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University in cooperation with Evan Hatch and MTSU’s James Walker Library. You will also have the opportunity of purchasing for $5 a booklet that features many additional photographs of local farms and families along with history essays by Grandey, Hatch, and Dr. Van West of MTSU.
Admission to the gallery, located in the Arts Center of Cannon County, is free. Gallery hours are 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. The Arts Center is located at 1424 John Bragg Highway, Woodbury, TN 37190. For more information call (615) 563-2787 or (800) 235-9073, or visit www.artscenterofcc.com.