There’s plenty for history buffs to do in Knoxville over the next couple of days.
UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture has a brand new exhibit opening on Friday. Fish Forks and Fine Furnishings: Consumer Culture in the Gilded Age focuses on the proliferation of consumer household goods that accompanied industrialization, trade, and travel in the late nineteenth century. The McClung’s permanent collection has a ton of fascinating material from this period, so there should be some really neat objects on display. The museum is hosting a lecture on the era by historian Pat Rutenberg on July 16 at 2:00, so check that out if you’d like to learn more.
On Saturday and Sunday, we’re having our annual Statehood Day Living History Weekend at Marble Springs. Admission is free, and we’ll have reenactors and interpreters on hand for demonstrations and talks at the historic buildings. If you haven’t been to the site, or if you’ve taken the standard tour but have never been to one of our living history events, this is one of the best occasions to visit.
UPDATE 4/27/17: Marble Springs won the SOUP grant! It’s going to go a long way toward helping us get materials we need for school group tours. Thanks to all you folks who turned out and voted for us!
This one’s for you folks in the Knoxville area. The South Knoxville Alliance is hosting another SOUP fundraiser at Dara’s Garden on Thursday, April 27.
We will open the doors at 6:00 pm, collecting a $5.00 donation from attendees. At 6:30, 4 preselected individuals or groups will present an idea or project they would like to carry out. Each presenter (or group) has 4 minutes to inform, impassion and inspire the audience. They then have 4 minutes to answer questions from the audience. Dinner is then served while attendees digest, discuss and deliberate over the projects presented. They then cast a ballot for the project they would like most to fund.
When the evening nears a close, the ballots are counted and the group that has the most votes takes home the money from the door to help fund their project. Democracy meets Charity…
Marble Springs State Historic Site will be making a pitch for funding to support some of our programming. The more history buffs and supporters we have at the event to vote, the more likely we are to win the door take, so hopefully we’ll see lots of you there!
UPDATE 4-18-17: The lecture’s postponed for now. New date and time TBA.
This year’s Milton M. Klein lecture at the University of Tennessee is going to be a real treat. Historian Greg Grandin will discuss “Slavery in Herman Melville’s America” in the Howard Baker Center‘s Toyota Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. on April 20.
Dr. Grandin is a professor of history at NYU and the author of a number of acclaimed books, including Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City a National Book Award Finalist and a fascinating read; Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism; and The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World, which won the Bancroft Prize, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and was NPR’s Maureen Corrigan’s selection for the best book of 2014. Grandin is also a member of the American Academy of Arts ad Sciences and the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.
The lecture is free, and copies of Empire of Necessity will be available for sale at the book signing immediately afterward. This is a great opportunity to hear a master of the historical craft discuss his work.
Here’s a timely event for those of you in the Knoxville area as we move closer to the centennial of America’s entry into the First World War. On Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6:00 P.M., Ernest Freeberg will present “Eugene V. Debs and the Fight For Free Speech in World War One” in UT’s Hodges Library, room 212.
Dr. Freeberg, head of the Department of History at UT, is the author of a prize-winning book on Debs and civil liberties in wartime titled Democracy’s Prisoner. His other works include The Age of Edison and The Education of Laura Bridgman, which won the AHA’s Dunning Prize.
Pundits like to toss around the word “historic” when referring to presidential elections, and the last election in particular stirred up a lot of talk about historical parallels. But if you’re in the Knoxville area and you’d like to hear some actual historians weigh in, the University of Tennessee is hosting an Inauguration Eve symposium that might be of interest. On Thursday, Jan. 19 these folks from UT’s Department of History will discuss the significance of the 2016 election, provide some historical perspective, and use the past to shed light on its implications:
- Joshua Hodge, doctoral student specializing in nineteenth-century land use in the South
- Bob Hutton, senior lecturer and authority on Appalachia
- Max Matherne, doctoral student specializing in Jacksonian political thought
- Brad Nichols, lecturer and specialist in Nazism and genocide
- Tore Olsson, assistant professor and expert on the history of food, agriculture, the environment, and politics in the U.S. and Latin America
- Julie Reed, assistant professor and authority on Cherokee social policy and education
This event will be in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of Hodges Library, 5:00-6:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. (And the panelists are some of my favorite people!)
Here’s an event for all you East Tennessee devotees of Lincoln, the Civil War, and legal and constitutional history. Dr. Daniel Farber will deliver the annual R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture at Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law at noon on Thursday, Oct. 27. The title of his talk is “Lincoln and the Transformation of American Constitutional Law.” LMU’s Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy is sponsoring the presentation.
Farber is Sho Sato Professor of Law at UC-Berkely. He is a prolific scholar whose books include Lincoln’s Constitution, A History of the American Constitution, and Retained by the People: The “Silent” Ninth Amendment and the Constitutional Rights Americans Don’t Know They Have.
The lecture itself is at the LMU-DSOL building at 601 W Summit Hill Drive in Knoxville, but you can also watch via simulcast at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum on the Harrogate campus.
Here are three upcoming lectures at the University of Tennessee you might be interested in if you’re a a history aficionado.
First up is the 2016 Charles O. Jackson Memorial Lecture, held every fall semester in honor of a former faculty member in the Department of History. This year’s speaker is Dr. Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas and past president of the Western History Association. His books include The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado (winner of the Francis Parkman Prize) and The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story. Dr. West will be discussing the West before Lewis and Clark. This talk is this coming Monday, Oct. 3 at 5:00 p.m. in UT’s Howard Baker Center, room 103.
Later this fall, the McClung Museum is hosting two lectures on Knoxville’s history in conjunction with the new exhibit on historic archaeology and in celebration of the city’s 225th birthday. On Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:00 p.m. Jack Neely will present “Subterranean Knoxville: The Buried Narrative of a Distracted City” in the museum’s auditorium. Neely has written a number of books on Knoxville’s history, including Market Square: A History of the Most Democratic Place on Earth and Knoxville: This Obscure Prismatic City. He is also a longtime journalist, a regular contributor to the Knoxville Mercury, director of the Knoxville History Project, and the guy who probably knows more about this city and its past than anybody.
On Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2:00 p.m. Kim Trent of Knox Heritage will be at the museum to discuss historic preservation in Knoxville. The folks at Knox Heritage have been working on behalf of this city’s historic structures for years, and they do some great stuff.
All three of these events are free, so if you’re in the Knoxville area, come by for a little historical edification. And if you haven’t seen Knoxville Unearthed yet, you can check it out while you’re here.