Change in Leadership at the Heritage Alliance

Regrettably, the Board of Trustees announces that Dr. Megan Cullen Tewell will be leaving her role as Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance effective March 29, 2024. Dr. Tewell has received an exciting new opportunity at another institution, allowing her to spend more time with her family. Although we are saddened by this loss, we wish her the best with this new chapter, and part on good terms.

Dr. Tewell previously worked as Programming Coordinator at the Heritage Alliance from October 2019 to March 2023, and has served as Executive Director since January 2024, following Mrs. Anne G’Fellers-Mason. She will continue with the Heritage Alliance in a limited capacity through April 2024, as the organization searches for a new Executive Director. That search will begin in April 2024; we are confident that we will recruit the right candidate to lead our organization into the future.

The Heritage Alliance would also like to announce that Mr. Gordon Edwards has been appointed President of the Board of Trustees, effective March 2024, replacing Mr. Fred Counts, who remains a board member in good standing. Mr. Edwards has served on the Board, and as President, prior. He has been recognized for his continued commitment to the organization since 2011, and the Heritage Alliance welcomes his experience and leadership. Mr. Edwards will serveas the new point of contact for Heritage Alliance partners and stakeholders, as well as the public, until a new Executive Director has been selected.

Although this is a time of change, the Heritage Alliance remains strong and viable, offering important services and resources to the community. Our organization will continue operations as usual; as ever, we are committed to our mission and to our partnerships. We welcome questions and are glad to provide additional information upon request. Exciting things are truly ahead!

Gordon M. Edwards, President
The Heritage Alliance Board of Trustee

Now Hiring: Three Positions Available at the Heritage Alliance

We are now hiring for the full-time positions of Executive Director, Museum Manager, and the part time position of Museum Specialist. Job descriptions and application information available at the links below.

Executive Director

Museum Manager

Museum Specialist

Chester Inn Museum opens for 2024 Season

Chester Inn Museum opens for 2024 Season with new exhibit and town tour times

The Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum is now open for its 2024 season. The museum is currently on its spring hours and is open Monday and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Hours will increase for the summer in May.

The museum offers permanent and rotating exhibits about the history of Jonesborough and the surrounding area. Visitors can participate in a site tour, which includes two restored floors depicting what the inn might have looked like as a functioning hotel in the late 19th century.

“The Chester Inn is truly one of Jonesborough’s historic gems,” says Dr. Megan Cullen Tewell, executive director at the Heritage Alliance. “The site is a favorite for all kinds of visitors, including local residents, K-12 school groups and out-of-town guests. We love that the museum enables a wide range of people to connect with and learn more about the town’s past.”

There is no admission price for the Chester Inn Museum, but there is a suggested $2 donation per visitor. The museum is also seeking new volunteers to serve as hosts, docents, and tour guides. 

Historic Jonesborough Town Tours returns on Saturdays starting on Saturday, March 16. Town Tours are available every Saturday at 1 p.m. Tickets are $6. The tour leaves from the Chester Inn and costumed guides share the history of Tennessee’s Oldest Town and the people who called it home.

The Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission. For more information on the Chester Inn Museum or the Heritage Alliance, call the office at 423.753.9580 or the Chester Inn Museum at 423.753.4580. Follow the Chester Inn and Heritage Alliance Facebook pages for updates about events at the Chester Inn and other Heritage Alliance programs.

Chester Inn Museum Open for Chocolate Fest

The Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum will be open from 11:00-5:00 on Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th as a part of Chocolate Fest in Jonesborough. We will have a Town Tour at 1:00 pm on Saturday. The museum is free of charge, but the tickets for the Town Tour are $5.00 and can be purchased at the museum. Come and tour the museum, see vintage Valentine’s, and check out the restored rooms.

Now Hiring: Chester Inn Site Manager


Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Site Manager is responsible for all aspects of running the Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum (CISHSM). Such responsibilities include visitor relations, volunteer training, collections management, exhibit development, and program administration. The Site Manager is responsible for managing the collections, maintaining proper collections record keeping, and accessing, cataloging, inventorying, and monitoring additions to those collections. Additionally, the Site Manager is responsible for researching, planning, and developing regular, rotating exhibits on pertinent historical topics. Coordinating with the Executive Director and relevant museum personnel, the Site Manager will participate in concepting, developing, and initiating educational and outreach programs for the museum, including traveling exhibits. The Site Manager shall inform and advise the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees on the current state of the collection and historical site, including conservation needs, environmental conditions, storage, feasibility of exhibition or collections movement, and direct care of the artifacts. The Site Manager will provide appropriate training for volunteer docents and manage scheduling. The Site Manager will also be responsible for regularly cleaning the museum and for preparing the space to participate in Town of Jonesborough events. Furthermore, the Site Manager will create educational programs and materials based around the artifacts in the museum, for school groups and general visitors. K-12 programs and materials will be appropriate for various grade levels and align with state and local history education standards, as well as museum best practices.

Please note, this job involves weekend working hours and working hours that extend after 5:00 pm. Regarding physical demands, this position requires regular standing, walking, sitting, talking, and hearing while performing the duties of this job. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.

Work is seasonal with 20 hours a week from January to February, 25 hours a week from March to April and from November to December, and 28 hours a week from May to October. Compensation begins at $11.50 per hour, with the possibility of additional future compensation based on performance and the organization’s budget.



  1. Responsible for collections management and care;
  2. Responsible for security and maintenance of the historic site;
  3. Responsible for training volunteer docents;
  4. Responsible for coordinating with volunteer docents to create a monthly; calendar/schedule for the Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum;
  5. Responsible for appropriately cleaning artifacts on display, as well as the museum’s public spaces;
  6. Responsible for working with school groups, visitors, and the general public;
  7. Responsible for collaborating with other organizations and institutions.
  1. Plan and implement all permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as interpretative programs, in alignment with the Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum’s mission;
  2. Responsible for research activities;
  3. Provide tours of Chester Inn Museum and, when possible, the town of Jonesborough;
  4. Write articles pertaining to exhibits and events at the Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum for the Heritage Alliance’s quarterly newsletter, The Link, and website;
  5. Write press releases and other materials for new exhibits and programs;
  6. Create and share appropriate written content for the museum’s Facebook page;
  7. Create and promote appropriate videos for the museum’s YouTube channel.


An advanced degree or course work in museum studies, history, heritage tourism, and /or Public History is desirable. Work experience should include museum employment and familiarity with standard museum operation procedures, as well as exhibit development, interpretive principles, material culture principles, and collections care. The ideal candidate will be self-motivated and creative, able to maintain existing programs as well as conceive, develop, and execute new ones.  We seek a creative, outgoing candidate who possesses strong writing and people skills. It is essential that the Site Manager have experience and skill interacting with the general public, as they are often the first face that many people interact with when visiting Jonesborough, TN.



Send your resume, cover letter, and two letters of reference to Mr. Fred Counts, Board President, at Application materials are due by 5:00 pm EST on Thursday, February 17, 2024. For more information, you may call the office of the Heritage Alliance at 423-753-9580 or visit our website at

Link to PDF application here.


The Heritage Alliance is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Annual Meeting Postponed to February 1st

Due to another impending winter storm system, we’ve decided to postpone the Annual Meeting until Thursday, February 1st at 6:00 pm at the Visitors Center. It will NOT be tomorrow evening, January 18th.

Stay in, stay safe, and stay warm. If you’ve already cooked a dish or picked up a dish, consider it a trial run. Also, the date change ensures that our new Executive Director will be in attendance.

Annual Meeting on January 18th


Thank you for supporting the Heritage Alliance in 2023. We look forward to more history and preservation adventures in 2024. Our Annual Meeting will take place on Thursday, January 18th at 6:00 pm at the Visitors Center. Details are below.

Nancy’s Story, Award-Winning Historical Play Comes to ETSU on January 21st

In 1820, Elihu Embree published his newspaper The Emancipator on Main Street, Jonesborough. The seven-edition paper is the first publication dedicated solely to the cause of abolitionism. Embree passed away in December of 1820, and the paper died with him. Even though it was short-lived, The Emancipator had over 2,000 subscribers and its reach went all the way to Boston and Philadelphia. In spite of his abolitionist beliefs, Embree himself was an enslaver. Nancy was an enslaved woman owned by Elihu Embree, and her story will be shared on Sunday, January 21, 2024, inside the Bach Theatre at the James C. & Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts at East Tennessee State University.


Written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Former Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance and new Program Manager for the McKinney Center, “Nancy” follows a year in the woman’s life, from January 1820 when Elihu Embree wrote his will to January 1821 when his will was read before the Washington County court. In his will, Embree tried to free Nancy and her five children, but were his wishes carried out? What was Nancy feeling and thinking during this time? The play is based on primary research relying heavily on documents from the Washington County Archives. Local actress Ubunibi Afia Short takes on the titular role of Nancy. “We’re excited to finally be able to bring Nancy’s story to ETSU,” says Mason. “It’s an honor to perform in the Martin Center for the Arts and to share this experience with Black American Studies and the ETSU Department of Theatre and Dance. Without their support, this wouldn’t be possible.” The play is the recipient of an Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Association of Museums and a History in the Media Award from the East Tennessee Historical Society.


One performance will be held on January 21st at 2:00 pm inside the Bach Theatre in the James C. and Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts at 1320 W State of Franklin Road. The theatre will open for seating at 1:30 pm that afternoon. The show is about an hour in length followed by a question-and-answer session with the actress and playwright. If you have questions about this show, please contact the Heritage Alliance at 423.753.9580, or email Dr. Daryl Carter at Admission to the performance is free, but donations for the Heritage Alliance and Black American Studies are encouraged. Seating inside the Bach Theatre is limited, so you must register for your free ticket at


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, visit our website at or call our office at 423-753-9580. Black American 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. For more information about the Black American Studies Program at ETSU, visit For more information on the ETSU Department of Theatre and Dance, visit

Job Description: Executive Director

The Executive Director is appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Heritage Alliance and serves at their pleasure. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees through the Executive Committee when the Board is not available and has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Association. Qualifications include a minimum of a Master’s degree from an accredited institution or equivalent proven experience. The advanced degree should be in museum studies or a related field. The Executive Director should have good people skills, successful experience in grant writing and fundraising, and at least three years of experience in nonprofit leadership, the historic museum field, and historic preservation. These duties may change from time to time with the priorities of the organization. Due to the nature of this position, the Executive Director is a Flextime position, allowing for hours to be adjusted as necessary in a regular 40 hour week. The Executive Director’s general and specific duties include but are not limited to the following:


  1. Overall responsibility for the organization’s management and protection, including oversight of Collections, Operations, and three properties owned by the organization (The Duncan House, which serves as the offices for the organization, the adjacent Oak Hill School, and the Architectural Salvage Warehouse).


  1. Coordination with the Board of Trustees and their committees and liaison between the Board and all staff, as well as coordination with the State of Tennessee Historical Commission on the cooperative management of The Chester Inn State Historic Site.


  1. Along with the Board of Trustees, lead responsibility for fundraising and long range planning.


  1. Lead responsibility for the creation of goals, objectives, and overall direction for the Chester Inn Museum.


  1. Plans, directs and supervises the general interpretive programs of the Chester Inn Museum, including hiring of staff and scheduling. Insures quality program delivery by interpretive staff and employee evaluation.


  1. General oversight of the museum’s operations including financial management, planning, reporting, forecasting and management of all funds in a professional manner in concert with nonprofit guidelines of the IRS and accountants.


  1. Lead educational programs, as well as all programmatic elements of special events and overall administration of all special events and programs.


  1. Continued professional management of the organization’s museums in terms of collections, care, and exhibitions.


  1. Lead responsibility for marketing and public relations.


  1. Develops new programs and events whenever possible and in coordination with other staff has responsibility for the conceptualization, design and implementation of public programs.


  1. Other duties may be delegated by the Board of Trustees.


Salary – Commensurate with experience, starting at $39,000/year.

To Apply – Send Resume/CV and two (2) references to Board Pres. Fred Counts:

“Historic Architecture in the 21st Century” at History Happy Hour

Join the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on November 16th at 6:30 pm as we welcome Jason McCusker for this month’s History Happy Hour!


Mr. McCusker will be discussing various aspects about Historic Architecture in the 21st Century. He will also explain his involvement restoring one of the buildings he has worked on, the Ashe Street Courthouse in Johnson City. The program will begin at 6:30 pm in the International Storytelling Center. The event is free and open to the public!


This program will conclude the 2023 History Happy hour season. If you can’t attend History Happy Hour in person, the program will be livestreamed to the Chester Inn Museum’s Facebook page.



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