Historic Rugby Membership: Why It Matters

A Message From Teresa Bowman, Executive Director


I’m still very new to Historic Rugby (although my husband and I did have our first date here some 20-plus years ago). But when people ask me why membership in Historic Rugby matters, I can easily explain why:


Because, thanks to folks like you who join Historic Rugby, we make people’s eyes light up.


  • The nine-year-old who saw history come to life.
  • The 80-year-old artist whose handmade dolls provide income—and give her a purpose.
  • The young people volunteering to repair trails and protect our pristine natural beauty.
  • The scores of musicians, historians, scholars, artists, writers, adventurers, and families who have been touched by this magical place.


Your membership in Historic Rugby helps make all this happen. Every day, we connect with people of all ages—showing them how the ideals of a village founded 135 years ago still have a place in today’s world. We educate, rejuvenate, and inspire. We preserve and protect 18 historic buildings—including the oldest operating public library in the South. We provide work in one of the highest unemployment areas in Tennessee and shops where local artists can feature their crafts.


People leave our village with new perspectives—and new energy. Historic Rugby receives no ongoing operational support from federal, state or local governments.  It’s your membership and donations that allow us to carry out our missions. Our staff and volunteers are exceptionally good stewards of your money, and each year we reach out to 25,000 people who visit our village, plus tens of thousands more worldwide. We’ve hosted festivals and car shows, artists and writer workshops, and hundreds of tours of our historic buildings. We’ve made major repairs and restorations. We’ve worked hard to represent our founder’s principles—and you, as a member of Historic Rugby.

We’d like to do more. That’s where you make a big difference. Your membership allows us to continue programs like these, and look at what’s next for Historic Rugby in a changing world. We’re considering new ways of outreach, new historic collections for display, and new ways of protecting our natural and man-made resources. For the last year, we’ve worked without an Executive Director and with a short staff. Now that we have new people on board with fresh ideas, we’re looking to enhance the experience of visiting Historic Rugby—and the value of your membership.


If you’re already a member—thanks. You make a difference.  If you’d like to become a member, simply click here.


And make someone’s eyes light up.




Photo Credits: All photos from our Instagram page