HS Features: Tina Turner Museum

Tina Turner Museum located at Flagg Grove School
Credit: West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center

We are featuring the Tina Turner Museum located in the Flagg Grove community near Nutbush, Tennessee. Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Executive Director, granted us an interview about the Tina Turner Museum.

History & Mission of the Tina Turner Museum

The museum is housed in the one-room African American schoolhouse Tina attended as a child. It’s original location was in the Flagg Grove community near Nutbush. It was built in 1889 by Benjamin Flagg, Tina’s great-great uncle (brother to Tina’s Great-Great Grandfather). The community is named after him and the Flagg family. Tina attended the school in the late 40s, early 50s. The school closed in 1967 and was sold to a local farmer, Joe Stephens. Her used the school for a barn for many years and built a shed on each side for livestock. It was these sheds that protected the original structure and allowed it to remain in good enough shape to move and preserve. We had to move the structure to keep it from being torn down to make way for an irrigation system. We moved the school in 2012 and began restoration efforts. With the help of fans and locals, we raised private funds to restore the school and opened it in 2014. Our mission is to preserve and promote the musical heritage of the region.    

Unique Facts about the museum  

Inside the school we found original desks, chalkboard and benches from the original school. We have these items on display as well as items donated by Tina Turner from her career. Our nicest surprise when researching the school was to learn that not only had she attended but that it was part of her families legacy. We also discovered that the Flagg family has a long history of being involved in education, as most of Benjamin Flagg’s close family members (including grandchildren) have spent their lives as teachers … continuing the tradition that their grandfather began in 1889. Tina herself donated the memorabilia from her career and it includes costumes from her final tour. Another interesting fact is that her designer (Stephen Sills, New York) and her personal assistant (Rhonda Graam) personally came to oversee the project and to set the displays up.   

Tina Turner costumes inside the museum 
Credit: Tina Turner Museum

Support for the museum  

The museum is supported by the City of Brownsville and a group called Friends of the Delta Heritage Center. The museum is located on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center along with the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. We are also home to the West Tennessee Cotton Museum, West Tennessee Music Museum and Hatchie River Museum.   

Ways to be involved in the museum  

Donations through the Friends group, word of mouth about the museum and posting a review of your visit on Google & Trip Advisor. We also have an annual Tina Turner Heritage Days on the 4th weekend of September when fans from all over the world come to visit and share their love of Tina.     

Admission prices and hours  

Admission is free for those preferring to self tour. A modest fee of $7.50 per person for those wishing a guided tour. Our hours are Monday – Saturday, 9-5 and Sunday, 1-5.   Location   We are located on Music Highway between Memphis and Nashville, TN., just off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56 (behind McDonald’s) in Brownsville, TN.

For information, please call (731) 779-9000 or email info@westtnheritage.com

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