Somebody pinch me. Seriously. I’m not on cloud nine; I’m on cloud twenty-seven or twenty-eight. Maybe higher than that.
Fallen from Edenic perfection though it is, this world affords us a great many fine things, including the companionship of family and friends, sublime sunsets, good BBQ, and free access to Shakira videos on YouTube.
Of all the pleasures we’re granted in life, however, two of the greatest are undoubtedly the study of these subjects:
- The early history of East Tennessee
Imagine, then, how ecstatic I was to learn that the next two special exhibits at the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture here in Knoxville will be…
DINOSAUR DISCOVERIES: ANCIENT FOSSILS, NEW IDEAS
June 4, 2016–August 28, 2016
This exhibition showcases the world of modern paleontology, introducing a dynamic vision of dinosaurs and the scientists who study them. New discoveries and technologies reveal how dinosaurs lived, moved and behaved. Find out how advanced technologies allow scientists to look at fossils in fresh ways. Examine realistic models and casts, and see dinosaurs walk, run and move their long necks in fantastic computer simulations.
KNOXVILLE UNEARTHED: ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE HEART OF THE VALLEY
September 7, 2016–January 8, 2017
In honor of Knoxville’s 225th anniversary, this exhibition explores the city’s heritage as seen through archaeological discoveries in the “Heart of the Valley.” Using historic artifacts unearthed in and around Knoxville, along with historical images, maps, documents, and oral histories, the exhibition tells the story of Knoxville’s development from a frontier settlement to an industrialized city.
Dinosaurs and East Tennessee history. It’s like if you made a Venn diagram of awesomeness, and plopped the McClung Museum’s rotating exhibit gallery right down in the middle.
Could it get any better? Oh, yes, indeed, it could.
A few days ago I opened an e-mail from the Department of History’s director of graduate studies. My assistantship assignment for next semester came in, and I’ll be working for…wait for it…the McClung Museum.
I. GET. TO. WORK. AT. THE. MCCLUNG. MUSEUM.
Here’s a pretty close approximation of how I reacted.
Seriously, I couldn’t be more excited. I haven’t been able to get my hands dirty with museum work in quite a while, and the fact that I get to do it at a Smithsonian-affiliated institution with a fossil exhibit and a special exhibition on Knoxville’s history makes me absolutely giddy.
Oh, one more thing. The archaeology exhibit will feature some artifacts from excavations at Marble Springs, which is fantastic, because we haven’t really had an opportunity to showcase this stuff at the site. If you’re interested in seeing some of these traces of John Sevier’s plantation, be sure to stop by this fall. Admission to the McClung Museum is free, and it’s one of the most fascinating ways to spend some time in the Knoxville area.