The Blog

Heritage Alliance Receives Grant for Photo Digitizing

The Jonesborough Washington County History Museum and Archives was recently awarded a grant for $1800 to digitize its extensive photographic and negative collection. The grant is funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and administered by the Tennessee Historic Resources Advisory Board (THRAB) and Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA). Its purpose is to improve the preservation of and access to Tennessee’s historical records.


The collection spans the history of Jonesborough and Washington County from the first photographer in town, L.W. Keen c. 1850, to the beginning of the preservation movement in the 1970s and 1980s. It was built on the collection of the Civic Trust as well as the extensive Fink-Dulaney Collection, but also includes many donations by private individuals in the community.

We are constantly looking for new images to add to the collection, especially images from 1920 to 1970 which is the main gap. This grant will allow for digitizing these original images as well as expanding the collection by scanning new images added to the collection in the future. This will make the vast collection more accessible and better tell the story of Jonesborough and Washington County.

Heritage Alliance Educational Programs

The Heritage Alliance is proud to provide a wide range of educational experiences for multiple grade levels and age groups. Our options include a step back in time to a schoolday in 1892 at Oak Hill School, a scavenger hunt in the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum, hands on with artifacts from our museum collection, primary source activities, tours, museum theatre, a storyteller, and much more! All of our programs are connected to Tennessee State Standards. To learn more about our educational programs and where they fit into the Tennessee state standards, click HERE to access our Educational brochure!


Sabine Hill Restoration at History Happy Hour on November 15th

The restoration of Sabine Hill, a historic property in Elizabethton, will be the topic of the final History Happy Hour for the 2018 season.

Sycamore Shoals State Park manager Jennifer Bauer will be the speaker at History Happy Hour on Thursday, November 15th. Originally built by Mary Patton Taylor, Sabine Hill features a prominent federal style house that has been restored to its 1818 appearance by the Tennessee Historical Commission. The operation of Sabine Hill is managed by Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton.

History Happy Hour is a collaborative program in its second year at the Chester Inn Museum. The programs are on the 3rd Thursday each month at 6:30 pm, and they are free and open to the public. This month’s presentation will be held at the International Storytelling Center beside the Chester Inn Museum. This is the final Happy Hour for 2018 but keep an eye out for the 2019 schedule!


Colors of Christmas: Historic Tour and Dinner

This December marks the second year for the Colors of Christmas: Historic Tour and Dinner event! In 2017, the Heritage Alliance partnered with the Town of Jonesborough to merge the Holiday Tour of Homes and the Progressive Dinner into one elegant evening. We had a wonderful time and learned a lot last year, and thanks to those of you who completed the after survey, we have made modifications designed to bring you great cheer! We’re excited to continue this partnership in 2018. Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 1st, and get ready to ring in the Holiday season in Jonesborough!

The Colors of Christmas: Historic Tour and Dinner opens several historic structures in Jonesborough, each decorated in Holiday finery. Guests can choose to tour only or have the option of a fine dining experience benefiting the Heritage Alliance’s education and preservation programs….but why not do both? Two seating times will be available for the four-course, Dinner portion of the evening, 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Guests will enjoy appetizers in the Historic Inns of Jonesborough from 4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. before being bused to the McKinney Center to continue the celebration with delicious food, festive live music, and camaraderie. Whether you choose to Tour only, Dine only or combine both, the Colors of Christmas is the ultimate kick-off to the Holiday season in Jonesborough.

Tickets are only available through the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center and can be purchased on line at or by calling 423-753-1010. Once you have purchased your tickets, we will send you information specific to your seating.

The restoration of a building does more than repair old walls and ceilings; it rebuilds connections, strengthens community and restores the spirit. Not only will you be celebrating restoration during the Colors of Christmas, you’ll also be supporting two, worthwhile causes. Your Colors of Christmas Dinner ticket helps to fund the preservation and education mission of the Heritage Alliance. The Colors of Christmas Tour helps the Town of Jonesborough fund the many free events, such as “At Home with Santa”, dedicated to children throughout the year.

The Colors of Christmas: Historic Tour and Dinner celebrates the many good things that result when we join together for the benefit of all. It is fun, it is festive, and it is fulfilling.

A Spot On the Hill Returns for Fifth Season

A Spot on the Hill, the original, research-based play returns this October to the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. Now celebrating its fifth season, this edition features new characters. New faces include William Elbert Munsey, the namesake of Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City, Jeremiah Edwards, founder of the Zion Hill School in Jonesborough, and Laura Brunner Dosser who was well known and respected for her eye for fashion.  You’ll meet them and many more! Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to sit on. Come and listen to real stories of real lives among real tombstones.


Performances for A Spot on the Hill will take place at 6:30 p.m. on October 19th, 20th, and 26th. There will be a 2:30 p.m. matinee performance on October 20th and 27th. The October 20th matinee will take place inside the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum. The museum is located inside the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center and is handicap accessible. Tickets are limited, and sell out fast, so make sure you buy yours today. Tickets are $8.00 and proceeds benefit the Heritage Alliance’s cemetery preservation and tombstone restoration fund.



Audience members should arrive 15 minutes prior to show time. Parking is available at the First Baptist Church and downtown. It is a short walk up East Main Street to the cemetery from the First Baptist Church lot. A golf cart courtesy shuttle will be available for guests who need it. This program is not suggested for children under 10 years of age. In case of inclement weather, performances will be moved inside to the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum.


To purchase tickets, please call the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 423.753.1010. Tickets can also be purchased online at

Constitution Week Bell Ringing at Oak Hill School

On Sunday, September 16th, the State of Franklin Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), are hosting their Fifth Annual Bell Ringing in honor of Constitution Week.  The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Oak Hill School, located at 214 East Sabin Drive in Jonesborough across from the Jonesborough Public Library.  The program will include a ceremony honoring local soldiers who sacrificed their lives during World War I, the David Crockett High School choir, the Over Mountain Men, and more.  Bring your chairs and bells that Sunday and “make a joyful noise” as America celebrates the Constitution.

The Daughters of the American Revolution began the tradition of celebrating the Constitution.  In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week.  The resolution was adopted by Congress and signed into law on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The State of Franklin Chapter of the NSDAR has been based in Jonesborough since 1929.


Vote for Heritage Alliance in 25 Years of Giving Contest

Have you heard the news? The First Tennessee Foundation is celebrating 25 years of giving through a video contest and we could be eligible to receive up to $25,000 for the Heritage Alliance and the Town of Jonesborough.

We need your help! Our video has been submitted to the 25 Years of Giving Video Contest from the First Horizon Foundation and now we need YOU to vote for us! The top 30 videos with the most votes will advance to the next level as a finalist and could be one of the 25 selected winners receiving a grant.

To vote for our video please visit:

You can vote once per day. Public voting ends August 31, 2018. As always, we cannot do this without you! Some voting FAQs are listed below, in case you have any questions.

Voting FAQs

  1. When does voting for the 25 Years of Giving Video Contest begin? Voting to select the top 30 finalists starts on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 12 a.m. CST. Your votes will help determine the finalist videos that advance to the next level. Voting will remain open until 11:59 p.m. CST on Friday, August 31, 2018.

  2. How do I vote? We have three convenient ways for you to help determine our finalists. You can access the voting gallery through,, or You will be required to create an account through the voting platform to submit your vote. When voting, you can vote by selecting the “thumbs-up” icon, once you have logged in.

  3. When exactly can I vote? Voting will open on Wednesday, August 15 at 12 a.m. CST and will close at 11:59 p.m. CST on Friday, August 31. The top 30 videos will advance to be reviewed by a panel of judges and the winners will be announced on Monday, October 1, 2018.

  4. How many times can I vote? You can submit multiple votes to your favorite videos on a registered email. Users can vote multiple times without limit throughout the duration of the voting period.

  5. Multiple members of my household would like to vote. Can they? Sure — the more the merrier! Just make sure to create an account with a valid email address so that they are eligible to participate.

  6. Why do I need to register my email address? To ensure validity in the votes we’re receiving, an account must be created by providing an email address

  7. Help! I forgot my username and/or password. No need to worry. Head to the contest page and click “sign in.” Links to recover your username and/or password are just below the “password” field.

  8. How will you determine the top 30 finalists? The top 30 videos with the most validated votes will advance to the next level.

  9. When will winners be announced? Our 25 winners will be announced on October 1, 2018.

  10. Who can I contact with additional questions? Contact

Thank you,

Heritage Alliance

Tickets On Sale for With These Hands

The Heritage Alliance and The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School are joining together to produce the original, history based play, With These Hands. This full length “dramadey” will be a joint fundraiser for the Heritage Alliance and the McKinney Center. For the low cost of $20.00 per ticket, you will be supporting the educational programs of both organizations. To purchase tickets, please call the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 423.753.1010. Tickets can also be purchased online at


This production, written by G’Fellers-Mason and directed by Jules Corriere, highlights significant moments in the history of Jonesborough and Washington County. It also features some of Jonesborough’s best-known residents, including town historians Paul Fink and Miriam Fink-Dulaney, Angelina Mason and Charlotte Dilworth, and many others, some whose legacy is found in street names and buildings, and others, in the work they built with their own hands that still stand today- the railroad, the courthouse, the steps leading to the Old Mill Spring.


These are the stories of real people and real families through history, meeting at crisis points, and finding ways past them. “Their struggles in the past inform us of how we can move forward when we face these same kinds of obstacles. History is cyclical, but we can learn from it.  Anne’s play is very timely. There are lessons inside. The Masons and the Dillworths bridged gaps over great divides, it was difficult, but they found a way, and we can aspire to their example,”  says Corriere.


The play may hold answers, but it asks even more questions- something that a good work of art always does. Can two families keep their friendship intact even though they find themselves on opposing sides of the Civil War? Can a former Southern Belle allow herself to accept help from a Freedman after emancipation? And the burning question- What is historic spit and what does it have to do with the Washington County Courthouse? These scenes and more will be brought to life on stage for one weekend only, in a multi-media production which will infuse historic archival photos, connecting the past to the present.




Pitchforks to Chairs: 18th and 19th Century Woodworking Tools with Curtis Buchanan

“It takes ten generations to learn something, and one generation to forget it.”

This quote is applicable to many things, but chairmaker Curtis Buchanan applies it specifically to woodworking tools and techniques. Curtis will be speaking about 18th and 19th century woodworking tools and techniques and the utilitarian items they produced at History Happy Hour’s program on Thursday, July 19th at 6:30 pm. The program is usually held at the Chester Inn Museum, but this program will be held next door at the Christopher Taylor House, weather permitting. The program is free and open to the public.

Curtis is a world renowned chairmaker with a shop in Jonesborough, TN. For over 30 years Curtis has produced chairs that have been displayed in the Chester Inn, the Tennessee State Museum, the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion, and Monticello, among other places. He also offers classes, instructional videos, and has made numerous contributions to the field of chairmaking. More info about Curtis and his workshop can be found on his website at

History Happy Hour is a collaborative program that features speakers and researchers from various local organizations, museums, and schools. Presenters for 2018 include independent researchers, National Park Service rangers, professors, and museum professionals from across the region. The programs are on the 3rd Thursday each month at 6:30 pm.

For more information on the Chester Inn Museum, History Happy Hour, or the Heritage Alliance please call our office at 423.753.9580 or the Chester Inn Museum at 423.753.4580.  You can also contact the organization via email at  Additional information about the Heritage Alliance and its mission can be found online at Be sure to follow the Chester Inn and Heritage Alliance Facebook pages for updates about events at the Chester Inn and other Heritage Alliance programs.


Homeschool Day Aug 10 Registration Open!

To register, click HERE to access the registration form.

The Heritage Alliance will host its second Homeschool Day on Friday, August 10. History and heritage based activities are planned from 9:00am – 3:30pm that day and will offer a wide variety of experiences for multiple ages. Students from first grade through senior year of high school are encouraged to come and experience history with their families in Tennessee’s Oldest Town.

Activities that day include lessons in Oak Hill School, a one room schoolhouse restored to the year 1892, Town Tours, Old Jonesborough Cemetery Tours, and hands-on activities with artifacts in the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum. In addition, students can participate in history hunts at the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum, participate in train based activities in the Chuckey Depot Railroad Museum, and listen to a Storyteller. Archeological activities will be offered in the morning, and older students will have the opportunity to play history detective using primary sources. It will be a day full of history and fun!

Students and parents will be able to select their activities and schedule for the day. Registration is now open at The cost is $7.00 per student.

Come and experience history with the Heritage Alliance in Jonesborough!

The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences.  For more information, please call our office at 423.753.9580, or contact the organization via email at  Additional information can also be found online at