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.
Marble Springs State Historic Site’s annual fundraiser has gotten more and successful every year, and the 2016 Sevier Soirée is shaping up to be our best one yet. If you’re in the Knoxville area, I hope you’ll join us on Friday, Sept. 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a southern dinner, music, a silent auction, and an evening stroll through the historic farmstead of Tennessee’s first governor.
Tickets are $50 per person, and are available through our website or by mail at P.O. Box 20195, Knoxville, TN 3794. Make your reservation by August 26th. If you’d like some more information, shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (865) 573-5508.
This is a great opportunity to see Marble Springs if you’ve never paid a visit before, and for those of you who have been, it’s a wonderful way to enjoy the site after hours.
If you’re a Marble Springs fan or a Tennessee history buff, let me encourage you to come to the South Knoxville Alliance’s Knoxville SOUP dinner on July 7th.
For a donation of five bucks, you get a meal, and four organizations will give short presentations on projects they’d like to undertake. Then, all the attendees vote on the best proposal, and the winning organization gets the take from the door. Marble Springs is competing to support our Farmers Market, one of our programs that offers something really cool to folks in our community. The more of our supporters who attend and vote for us, the likelier we are to win.
Hope to see some of you this Thursday at the South Knoxville Community Center, 522 Maryville Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920. The doors open at 6:00 p.m.
I finally got to see the updated visitor center exhibit at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. The exhibit narrative offers a pretty good crash course in the history of Tennessee’s Revolutionary frontier, using some lovely murals, audio, artifacts, and a few tableaux with life-sized figures.
You can stand eye to eye with Dragging Canoe while listening to an audio dramatization of his speech denouncing the Transylvania Purchase. He delivered these remarks in March 1775, just a short distance from where the exhibit gallery now stands.
When Cherokee warriors launched an assault on the settlements in July 1776, one prong of the assault struck Fort Watauga. Here’s Ann Robertson employing a little frontier ingenuity, using scalding water against a warrior intent on setting fire to the fort’s wall.
Of course, another important moment in the history of Sycamore Shoals came in late September 1780, when the Overmountain Men mustered there for the march that took them to King’s Mountain.
In terms of original artifacts, the highlight is this pair of kettles from Mary Patton’s gunpowder mill. Born in England, Patton lived in Pennsylvania before migrating to the Watauga region with her husband. The Pattons’ mill supplied five hundred pounds of gunpowder for the King’s Mountain expedition. I think these material links to East Tennessee’s Rev War years are pretty darn special.
If you wanted to identify one site as ground zero for Tennessee’s frontier era, Sycamore Shoals would be as good a spot as any. It’s nice to see the place get the sort of modern exhibit it deserves.
The Governor John Sevier Memorial Association now has an AmazonSmile account, which means you can support Marble Springs State Historic Site just by treating yourself to stuff you’d order online anyway.
Next time you decide to buy something from Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com and select “Governor John Sevier Memorial Association” as your preferred charity. Whenever you’re logged into AmazonSmile, a portion of your purchase price will go to GJSMA. It doesn’t cost you anything extra. Amazon ponies up the donation for you., so you’ll get the same products at the usual prices.
No more feeling guilty when you splurge on books, since it’s all going to a worthy cause. Just remember to use smile.amazon.com instead of the regular Amazon site whenever you’re shopping online. GJSMA only gets the donation when you’re logged into AmazonSmile instead of Amazon.com.
Now, go buy stuff!
This month will mark 200 years since John Sevier’s death, and we’ve got a whole slew of things going on at Marble Springs State Historic Site.
Sept. 19-20 is our annual living history weekend, John Sevier Days. This is one of our most popular events, with reenacting, period demonstrations, interpretation at our historic buildings, and more.
Sept. 19th is also the night of our third Sevier Soirée, the annual fundraising dinner and silent auction that I posted about not too long ago. Tickets are $50.00 per person, and include open-hearth appetizers, a Southern-style dinner, and live music by Guy Marshall. Reserve seats by Sept. 14th, either via snail mail or online.
On Sept. 24th, the actual anniversary of Sevier’s death, we’ll have a special one-time commemorative event. At 2:00 P.M. we’ll be doing a wreath-laying ceremony at Sevier’s grave on the lawn of the Old Knox County Courthouse in downtown Knoxville. Thanks to a generous benefactor, we’ll also be hosting a cocktail event at Marble Springs at 7:00 that evening, followed by dinner.
This will be a very special month for aficionados of Tennessee history, historic sites, the American Revolution, the early frontier, good food, and good music. Hope to see some of you there!