Interview with the curator of the John Bell Hood exhibit at Carnton

I blogged earlier about the John Bell Hood exhibit at Carnton. Hundreds of people have seen the exhibit and the feedback has been very good.You can read all my previous posts related to John Bell Hood by clicking on this link.

I recently sat down with Carnton collections manager Joanna Stephens to ask her a few questions about the exhibit.

Drawing of Hood courtesy of artist Andy Amato.

BoF: How long did it take to get this exhibit installed from it’s inception?

Stephens: It took about a year, which is really not all that long for an exhibit. We wanted this exhibit to coincide with the opening of the Fleming Center. We were originally trying to find enough items on Gen John Schofield (U.S.) and General John Bell Hood (CSA).  But there just weren’t many accessible artifacts belonging to Schofield so we ended up just with Hood artifacts.

BoF: How does this Hood exhibit compare to previous Hood exhibits around the country?

Stephens: This is the largest exhibit of John Bell Hood artifacts ever assembled for a museum exhibit.

BoF: What is your favorite item in the exhibit?

Stephens: I like the personal items best. I like daily-use things best. My favorite Hood artifact in this exhibit are the gauntlets.  It is not too hard to imagine his withered left arm still wearing the glove!

I love personal artifacts . . . Those kind of things . . . but to really see a picture of what a person was like in daily life is really important.

BoF: What does this exhibit tell us about Hood that many people might be surprised of?

Stephens: My goal was to inform people that there was a lot more to this man than the decision he made at Franklin. So much before and so much more after.  He’s a whole man. You have to take everything into consideration.

John Bell Hood's coat on display in the Museum of the Confederacy.

Accompanying this exhibit will be a panel discussion about Hood. This discussion will be held Friday, November 6 at 6 p.m. The panel will include Sam Elliott, biographer of Confederate General A.P. Stewart, Sam Hood, a descendent of General Hood’s grandfather, and Eric Jacobson, Carnton’s Interim Executive Director. Topics to be covered include the early life, military career, Tennessee Campaign, and legacy of General Hood. More information about the exhibit and panel discussion will be available at or 615-794-0903.

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