Photos: Murfreesboro’s Discovery Center holds ‘Secret Garden’ fundraiser

Photos by Connor Burnard / MTSU Sidelines

The Discovery Center in Murfreesboro, which is a nature museum and preserved wetlands area, held its annual “Secret Garden” fundraiser at the home of Christy Fancher near the Stones River Country Club on Friday evening.

The event, which included a catered Italian dinner, drinks, music and a silent auction, serves as a significant fundraiser for the Discovery Center, with tickets costing $100 and all proceeds from both ticket sales and silent auction bids going to the operation of the Discovery Center and its programs. What a great idea, and so easy to organise for the host thanks to the venue being a garden. As long you have the right outdoor garden furniture, plenty of drinks and snacks, and a few decorative pieces dotted around, a garden party can’t go wrong.

The director of grants and membership development at the Discovery Center, Jennifer Neal, said that the Secret Garden party helps with running the day-to-day operations and programs at the center.

“Funds from this fundraiser go toward our exhibits, our programs and our outreach,” Neal said. “We serve about 125,000 children and families each year through our exhibits and programs. We have outreach programs that allow (access to) the museum for underserved communities.”

Hayley Richey, the media and scheduling coordinator at the Discovery Center, said that the Secret Garden party is one of the year’s biggest events for the Center.

“This is one of, if not our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Richey said. “It’s a lot of fun. We also do our Secret Garden tours … at different locations. But tonight, it’s really fun to bring together members of the community. Everybody has put a lot of hard work into tonight, whether that’s our staff members, our committee who has planned this, Modern Vintage events who have put this together (and) members of the community who have donated items to the auction. All of that really means a lot.”

Some notable names in attendance at the event were U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a current candidate for U.S. Senate; her husband, Chuck; Dr. Liz Rhea, an MTSU benefactor; NRA Board of Directors member Ronnie Barrett of Barrett Firearms; and his wife Donna Barrett, a former state representative.

The fundraising events for the Discovery Center include the Secret Garden tours on Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3. More information can be found at here.

To contact news Editor Caleb Revill, email

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