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June 23, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

A New Era at Cheekwood

A Children's Garden is coming! Plus, a historic restoration and other additions on the way at this beloved Nashville treasure.

Cheekwood has big new plans underway, including a $30 million capital campaign, a major restoration project, the addition of a children’s garden and other improvements.

More than $20 million in pledges to the campaign are already in going toward restoration projects, building capital reserves and raising the endowment.

“When Cheekwood opened to the public in 1960, it was an incredible gift to Nashville,” says Jane MacLeod, Cheekwood’s president and CEO. “But gifted without an endowment, Cheekwood has struggled since its inception to care for and maintain two fully developed and separate entities — a 55-acre botanical garden and 90,000 square feet of buildings comprised of an historic residence and art museum. This important campaign will allow Cheekwood to realize its full potential as one of the finest remaining examples of an American Country Place Era estate in the United States, becoming not only a Nashville destination, but a national one,” she adds.



A sneak peek at the restored Drawing Room at Cheekwood.

The mansion is not open to the public right now while its major restoration project takes place. It will reopen on June 17, 2017, in conjunction with the Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times exhibit.

The restoration project brings back the original look of the house in 1932 when the Cheek family lived there. The project includes original paint matching, moulding replication, drapery authentication, the original working dumbwaiter system and more. Forty percent of the objects are original to the home. Other items are near-duplicates of the original furnishings or commissioned as identical pieces.


A cornerstone of The Cheekwood Campaign, the Children’s Garden is made possible by a $5 million lead gift by The Bracken Foundation with a $2 million pledge challenge.

The two-acre garden will exist between the Howe Garden and Frist Learning Center. Groundbreaking takes place winter 2018 with the garden opening spring 2019. Landscape Architect W. Gary Smith is designing the garden with architecture firm Hodgson Douglas overseeing the project.

The design will draw inspiration from Cheekwood’s heritage, heritage and aesthetics. These include human-scaled places like private garden rooms, secret nooks, hidden spaces and water features; a plant palette celebrating the four season; and items exhibiting artisan craftsmanship.

The garden aims to provide learning opportunities for kids with two main concepts:

• Plants are alive with their own distinct life cycles and patterns changing through the seasons.

• Humans encounter and engage with environments through their five senses, minds and imaginations.


Covering 10 acres of woodlands, the one-mile trail that’s home to 15 sculptures is getting an inclusive new treatment. An ADA-accessible path will be built through a section of the trail. In addition, there will be a new trailhead and wayfinding entrance.

Furthermore, the trail will feature greater horticultural experiences to celebrate seasonality throughout the year. Among other improvements, lighting will be installed giving a whole new way for families to experience the trail at night.

Made possible by a $5 million lead gift from The Ann and Monroe Carell Foundation, groundbreaking takes place in 2019 with reopening in 2020.


With a new $4 million gift from The Frist Foundation, Cheekwood will restore and enhance the Frist Learning Center. Improvements include a new cafe adjacent to the future Children’s Garden and a new approach to meeting and gallery spaces.

The Frist Learning Center will continue to serve as an education and programming hub, including school programs, summer camps and seasonal family outings.

Cheekwood is located at 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville. Tue – Sun 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $20 adults, $13 ages 3 – 17, free ages 2 and younger.

Learn more at 615-356-8000 or Click HERE to make a contribution to The Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden.



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