World War II Museum alive and well in Fiddlers Grove

Jacob Smith • Feb 7, 2018 at 5:07 PM

Retired Col. Jim Henderson started the Tennessee Maneuvers World War II Museum in 1991 at Cumberland University.

Until about 1995, the museum display sat in a corner at the Cumberland University library. Students were invited to come see artifacts from the war, such as a tablecloth taken from Hitler’s bunker at the end of the war.

“We had a large, large collection of stuff,” said Henderson. “We had uniforms, we had guns. I had a surgeon’s kit out of one of the SS units.”

In 1996, Henderson started looking for a new location for his display, as he wanted more people to be able to experience some of the artifacts. What he found was a small house in Fiddlers Grove with no electricity.

“I spent about $900 getting electricity put in that building, but it was well worth it,” said Henderson.

The small museum gets most of its visitors during the Wilson County Fair, but it’s actually open year-round by request.

In 2014, Bill Schorndorf moved to Lebanon and messaged Henderson asking if he could help out with the maintenance of the building. Henderson, who was doing it by himself for several years at this point, gladly accepted the help.

“He’s a retired Marine, and he loves the Marine Corps. Not did, but does,” said Henderson. “He has a real interest in it, and loves to do it. He came in one day wanting to know if he could help me. I told him, ‘sure you can.’”

Now, Schorndorf comes by the museum almost every day and loves to take people on tours whenever he gets a chance.

“We get some yours out here with schools,” said Schorndorf. “This year, we’re hoping to get some more people in here. We don’t charge anything, so it’s a great opportunity.”

Anyone interested in touring the museum may contact Schorndorf or Henderson through Fiddlers Grove Historical Village coordinator Gwen Scott at 615-547-6111.

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