Useable Past: Achieving Inclusive Regional Development

Useable Past: Achieving Inclusive Regional Development Free Online Workshop on April 29

Register Here: https://bit.ly/3sqxrOp

Over 100 million visitors come to Tennessee, in a non-pandemic year, and the State typically earns over 20 billion dollars in revenue from tourists. It’s important that visitors, whether they are families, couples, or individuals seeking adventure, feel safe and represented in the places they visit and stay. Heritage Tourism is a large part of why people travel, they want to know their history, but this is a field that has struggled to be inclusive and welcoming to folks of all backgrounds. From the 1940s to the 1960s, the Green Books provided a road map for African American tourists so they could feel secure while traveling. Today, there are several groups that continue this endeavor for multiple communities. How can we, as leaders in the field of tourism in Northeast Tennessee work to set an example for other areas as an inclusive region? Useable Past seeks to showcase efforts and examples in Northeast Tennessee when it comes to inclusive tourism, difficulties faced, as well as action steps we can all take to continue to move forward as a region.

 

 

This free workshop will take place online from 9:00 am – 10:30 am on Thursday, April 29th. Speakers include Alicia Phelps, Executive Director of Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, William Isom, Director of Black in Appalachia, and Dr. Candace Forbes-Bright, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Dr. Daryl Carter, Director of the Africana Studies program at ETSU, and Jules Corriere with the McKinney Center will moderate the Q&A session following the presentations. Participants must register in advance to receive the Zoom link. The conversations from the April event will continue in a second Useable Past workshop on May 27th.

This workshop series is a collaboration between the McKinney Center, the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, the Langston Centre, and the Africana Studies program at ETSU. The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School provides a comprehensive program through Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts which teaches various art skills to all participants through a quality program of instruction open to all segments of Jonesborough’s population. The Heritage Alliance is a non-profit 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. The Langston Centre is a cultural facility that promotes multicultural awareness and workforce development through arts, education, and leadership activities. The Africana Studies serves a critical role for the College of Arts & Sciences and ETSU by offering high-quality academic course offerings, superb programming, and opportunities for personal growth through service.

Virtual Trivia Night on April 22!

Click HERE to Register.

 

The Heritage Alliance is pleased to offer a history-themed team trivia challenge on Thursday, April 22 at 7:00 PM. This is the third online trivia event sponsored by the organization, who first offered the program in December 2020. The event encourages friendly competition for participants who answer questions pertaining to general historical knowledge.

 

 

Teams (of up to six people) can register for this virtual trivia experience up until the evening of the event, which will kick off at 7:00 PM and last approximately 1-2 hours. Joe Spiker, Head Docent of the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum, and Megan Cullen Tewell, Programming Coordinator at the Heritage Alliance, host the event via Zoom, tallying points and administering prizes to the winners. The event is family-friendly and open to all ages. Cost is $5 per team, although additional donations are appreciated.

 

You can sign your team up for trivia at Heritageall.org. Link to sign up for the event is at the top of the page. Like and follow the organization on Facebook for more information.

Heritage Alliance & Chester Inn Museum Receive Honors for Programming Excellence

We are so proud of the award-winning work that Heritage Alliance staff members have produced this past year. On March 17, 2021, the Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM) recognized Joe Spiker, Head Docent at the Chester Inn Museum and State Historic Site, and Megan Cullen Tewell, Programming Coordinator at The Heritage Alliance, who were honored with awards of excellence for recent programs and exhibitions. The Heritage Alliance was also an active participant in the conference. Tewell and Spiker gave a presentation on flexible programming, while Executive Director Anne G’Fellers-Mason moderated several of the sessions, led a roundtable discussion for site directors and other executives, and gave a presentation with the Bristol Public Library and Birthplace of Country Music Museum on collaborations.

 

 

Spiker received an award of recognition in the AV Film/Documentary Series category for the web series, “With the Victorians.” The Chester Inn was also recognized in the Temporary Exhibit category for the virtual exhibit, “If You Don’t Watch Out: The Influenza Pandemic in and Around Washington County, September 1918 to February 1919.”  Tewell was commended for her work on the “Homecooked History” web series in the Video/Blog category. A Taste of Tennessee: A Community Curated Cookbook received an award in the Publication category as well.

 

 

The Heritage Alliance is no stranger to commendation, having received numerous awards from TAM in the past. However, these recent recognitions take on additional meaning and significance in light of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that it has created. Regardless, Heritage Alliance staff continues to produce quality programming, materials, and experiences that share local history with the community—and now they have the certificates to prove it.

 

 

You can catch both “Homecooked History” and “With the Victorians” on the Chester Inn Museum’s YouTube channel, and the virtual flu exhibit on the Heritage Alliance’s website. You can also contact the Heritage Alliance for a copy of A Taste of Tennessee cookbook. Congratulations to our winners!

Chester Inn Museum Opens with New Exhibits

The Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum is now open for 2021, and visitors can expect to find two new exhibits on display!

 

The first exhibit is “Black in Appalachia: African American History in Kingsport,” a travelling exhibit on loan from the Kingsport Archives. They partnered with the group Black in Appalachia to compile a 10-panel exhibit covering five different aspects of African American life in Kingsport. The exhibit explores the roles that community leaders and organizations played in shaping the African American experience in the city. It will be on display through July 4th.

 

 

The second exhibit is “From Here to There: A Brief History of Transportation in Jonesborough.” This exhibit features archival photographs and artifacts relating to the different eras of transportation throughout Jonesborough’s history. It traces the evolution of travel from horse and carriage through railroad and automobile and explores the impact that road, railroad, and air travel had on the area.

 

 

The museum opened on Monday, March 1st, and is operating under its normal spring hours. In March and April the museum will be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and will be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. There is no admission price, but there is a suggested $2 donation per visitor. We recommend that visitors wear face coverings while visiting the museum, and we are happy to provide one for a $1 donation. Keep up to date with the museum by following the Chester Inn on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!

 

This project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission.

February 18 History-Themed Trivia Night

The Heritage Alliance is pleased to offer a history-themed team trivia challenge on Thursday, February 18 at 7:00 PM. This is the second trivia event sponsored by the organization, who first offered the program in December 2020. The event encourages friendly competition for participants who answer questions pertaining to general historical knowledge.

 

 

Teams (of up to six people) can register for this virtual trivia experience up until the evening of the event, which will kick off at 7:00 PM and last approximately two hours. Joe Spiker, Head Docent of the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum, and Megan Cullen Tewell, Programming Coordinator at the Heritage Alliance, host the event via Zoom, tallying points and administering prizes to the winners. The event is family-friendly and open to all ages. Cost is $5 per team, although additional donations are appreciated.

 

You can sign your team up for trivia at Heritageall.org. Link to sign up for the event is at the top of the page. Like and follow the organization on Facebook for more information.

Annual Meeting Update for Heritage Alliance Members

And somehow we’re here and 2020 is over, a year like no other. This past year simultaneously moved at the speed of snail and the speed of light. Through it all, our staff, board members, and volunteers have worked hard to keep our programming adaptive and engaging. We hope you’ve enjoyed what we’ve had to offer.

There are a few issues I’d like to address here in my end of the year musings. First, THANK YOU all SO MUCH for your show of support on Giving Tuesday on December 1st. As you know, it wasn’t safe to host the Progressive Dinner this year so we actively participated in the national day of giving for non-profits. We had several virtual tours and programs that day, including our first ever History Trivia event. It was a great day, and we felt your love and support tenfold.

(Don’t worry, we’ll be doing more trivia in the future.)

The second item I’d like to discuss is the state of the Annual Meeting. Usually, we all gather together at the Visitor’s Center in January to share the best potluck of the year and celebrate the organization’s accomplishments. As we continue to slog through this pandemic, a gathering of such magnitude is not advisable in January of 2021. Our hope is to have our potluck outside at a nice venue in the spring/summer. An official date announcement will come later.

Even if we can’t gather together at the start of the year, there is an important piece of business that must be taken care of. Per the Heritage Alliance By-Laws, the new and returning members of the Board of Trustees must be voted on by the general Membership in January. We do not have to meet in person to do this. There are options for voting, and I’ve outlined them below.

On Friday, January 15, 2021, the Heritage Alliance will open the Annual Meeting. I will send out an email to the Members from Board President Gordon Edwards with the official Board of Trustees’ ballot. Members will vote to confirm the returning Trustees for a three year term and the new Trustees who are joining the Board in 2021 for their first three year term.

If we do not have your email address on file, do not worry. We will be mailing paper ballots with return envelopes to Members who do not wish to receive communication via email. If you’d rather receive a paper ballot as opposed to an email ballot, please contact our office and let us know.
All ballots, email and paper, must be returned by Friday, January 29, 2021. On that day, Board President Gordon Edwards will close the Annual Meeting and the results of the election will be announced. I hope this is clear. If you have any questions about how the Annual Meeting will work, please reach out to me at the office. We will be sending further communication on this matter at the beginning of the new year.

Speaking of 2021, the Heritage Alliance will be celebrating our 20th anniversary. (Just another reason we want to wait until it’s safer to have our potluck.) We’ve partnered with the Herald & Tribune to help us commemorate this anniversary. Every week we’ll be showcasing historic photos from our archival collection in the paper, and every third Wednesday we’ll have a featured article about one aspect of the Heritage Alliance. As you all know, we do a lot, so we’re really excited about the opportunity to share our mission through these articles.

I know we’ll find other ways to celebrate the anniversary safely next year. And who knows, you all might be asked to contribute an article.

Johnson City Postal Savings Bank and Post Office Added to National Register

On November 17, 2020, the Johnson City Postal Savings Bank and Post Office was officially added to the NPS National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Historic sites on the register are federally recognized treasures with exceptional historic and/or architectural value. The building was admitted to the NRHP due to its governmental and architectural significance, primarily its beaux-arts design, which was a common style for civic building at the turn of the twentieth century.

The admittance of the Johnson City Postal Savings Bank is the culmination of over a year of hard work. During this time, the Heritage Alliance has been able to successfully engage in local historic preservation efforts that highlight the building’s history. Throughout 2019 and 2020, staff members of the Heritage Alliance worked with numerous community, civic, and governmental partners in order to create a NRHP application for the building, including local grassroots preservation group the Coalition for Historic Preservation.

The Heritage Alliance’s coordination with these organizations to advocate on behalf of the building was recognized by regional leaders including Mayor Joe Grandy and the Washington County Commission, and they designated the Heritage Alliance as the site’s preservation coordinator in January 2020.

Heritage Alliance board member and Johnson City Historic Zoning Commissioner Hal Hunter dedicated his time, effort, and expertise to completing the architectural significance portion of the application, while Programming Coordinator Megan Cullen Tewell completed the historical research on the building. Executive Director Anne G’Fellers-Mason managed the entire project and worked diplomatically with various partners to coordinate each phase of the application process. Thanks to the efforts of all of these stakeholders, the building has finally received the attention that it deserves.

 

So, what’s next for the Johnson City Postal Savings Bank? The Washington County Commission generously matched funds from the Johnson City Development Authority and the Southside Neighborhood Organization to fund a feasibility study in order to assess the building’s condition and potential reuse. That study will be underway shortly and will likely completed by mid-2021. Stay tuned for more details!

A Taste of Tennessee Community Curated Cookbook on Sale Now!

Everyone knows that the best part of any potluck is sampling the crockpot creations and pie tin productions of friends and neighbors. But, the absence of cookouts, fish fries, and dinner parties has generally left us alone in our kitchens with our own cooking. Fortunately, there is still a way this holiday season to try the tasty and beloved recipes of others!

 

The Heritage Alliance is looking to reunite people through food with the release of their first-ever community curated cookbook, A Taste Tennessee. Consisting of contributions by local community members, as well as reprints of historical recipes, A Taste of Tennessee contains more than just food. It also provides historical anecdotes, archival photos, newspaper clippings, artwork, and songs/myths all related to Appalachian foodways, making it feel like a potluck in print. “Because of the current health crisis, the Heritage Alliance has had to limit our in-person programming,” says Anne G’Fellers-Mason, the organization’s Executive Director. “But this cookbook offers us a great opportunity to interact with, and serve, the community in a way that’s central to our mission—and that’s fun!”

 

 

A Taste of Tennessee is currently for sale at the Jonesborough Visitors’ Center on Boone Street and through the Heritage Alliance on East Sabin Drive. Printed, black and white copies can be purchased for $12 or you can download a digital color version for $8 (through the Heritage Alliance exclusively). To purchase through the Heritage Alliance, call us at 423-753-9580 or reach out to us via email at info@heritageall.org. These cookbooks are a limited release and would make an excellent holiday gift for folks interested in food, Appalachia, and local history.

 

Learn more about the cookbook at Heritageall.org and like the organization on Facebook for more information. 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.

Heritage Alliance Hosts Virtual Holiday Cooking Class with Margie Kendall

Are you in the mood to whip up a festive dish from the comfort of your home kitchen? Well, you’re in luck! The Heritage Alliance is hosting an online cooking class with local foodie and blogger Margie Kendall on Saturday, December 12th at 4:00 p.m. Margie hosted a cooking class for the Alliance in August and she’s back this December with a unique, holiday dish. For just $25.00, you can Zoom with Margie and make butternut squash ravioli. The pasta will be made from scratch with no special equipment required.

 

Participants will make a delicious winter-inspired butternut squash filling, and Margie will show everyone how to form different types of ravioli in a workshop-style setting that’s interactive. You’ll cook your ravioli together and make a browned butter sauce to toss it in at the end to result in a simple, scratch-made meal that’s perfect for a cozy winter evening. Spots in this class are limited, so make sure you sign up today. You can purchase tickets for this class online through the Town of Jonesborough’s ticketing system at https://townofjonesborough.thundertix.com.  Participants will receive a list of ingredients and the Zoom link for the class ahead of time.

 

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Heritage Alliance at 423-753-9580. Proceeds from this class help us with our educational programs.

Call for Proposals for Feasibility Study of Ashe Street Courthouse

The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia is collecting written proposals from qualified individuals and firms to provide a feasibility study for the building known as the “Historic Ashe Street Courthouse,” located at Ashe Street in Johnson City, TN. The official RFP with all of the pertinent information can be accessed by clicking HERE. The detailed information is also included below.

The contractor will be responsible for completing a study for the rehabilitation or adaptive re-use of the building. The study is intended to provide the property owner with the resources necessary to make an informed decision regarding the feasibility of the project in its preliminary stages, and may include but are not limited to:

·         Building condition assessment – construction methods, building envelope (roof, walls, windows, etc.), HVAC, electrical, plumbing, structural, exterior and interior finishes, materials/construction in all of the building’s phases of renovation and analysis of said materials/construction

·         Proposed uses for the building including description of how well each proposed option fits the current condition of the building and how well it might fit a restored, historic post office/courthouse, what systems would need to be modified/augmented/replaced for each proposed use

·         Cost estimates

·         Green technology potential

·         Funding strategies

·         Pro-forma analysis

 

All proposals MUST include a qualification section where interested parties describe their prior experience with this type of work and list who is expected to work on the study and why they would be chosen to complete the work.

 

All work on this project is to be completed by June 14, 2021.

 

Coordinate any visits to the building with the office of Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy. Please direct all proposals and questions to Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance.

 

An estimate for the cost of the study MUST be included with the proposal.

 

Proposals are due to the Heritage Alliance no later than 5:00 PM EST on December 14, 2020, via mail or email.