Federal money approved for museum in the Great Smokies

POSTED: 7:49 AM Feb 10 2014   UPDATED: 12:30 PM Feb 10 2014

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has announced that the U.S. Department of the Interior has approved a $4.3 million archive of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Tennessee Republican says $2 million in federal money and $2.3 million from private donations will fund the Joint Curatorial Collections Facility near the Townsend entrance to the park. Construction could begin this summer.

The facility will house nearly 900,000 historical artifacts and archival records about the park and region, including photos, operating records, clothing and weapons. The archive will also house Andrew Johnson's presidential papers.

Other federal parks will also be able to use the new facility, including the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and the Obed Wild and Scenic River.