Established in 1944, the Children’s Museum of Nashville resided on 2nd Avenue South in downtown Nashville. World War II was coming to an end and the nation was beginning to look to the future. Sgt. John Ripley Forbes’ vision for Nashville’s future was focused on children. His enthusiasm for a children’s museum sparked some of the city’s most prominent and influential citizens, including the museum’s first president, Vernon Sharp, Jr. A lease on the old University of Nashville building was signed in November 1944, and on Oct. 30, 1945, the Children’s Museum of Nashville opened its doors to the public.
In 1952, the Center opened the first planetarium in Tennessee and named it after one of the founding Board of Trustees, Anthony Sudekum, whose family had contributed the funds to purchase the first star projector. The Museum moved to Old Saint Cloud Hill, known as Fort Negley in the Civil War, in 1974. The organization’s name changed over the years, most recently from Cumberland Science Museum to Adventure Science Center in November 2002.
More than sixty years have passed and Sgt. Forbes’ vision is as strong as ever. Adventure Science Center still creates opportunities for children to learn and have fun. The Center now serves about 340,000 visitors annually from Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, Northern Alabama, and beyond. It has remained at heart, a place for children.