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 carterda@mail.etsu.edu. 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
https://go.activecalendar.com/etsu/site/arts/event/nancy-a-play-by-anne-gfellers-mason/.

 

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 heritageall.org 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 https://www.etsu.edu/afam/. For more information on the ETSU Department of Theatre and Dance, visit https://www.etsu.edu/cas/theatre/.

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: scounts89@gmail.com



“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.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas November 25th at the Chester Inn Museum

Join us at the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on November 25th for readings of the holiday classic, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! This program is part of the town of Jonesborough’s “Whoville” holiday celebration which takes place from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. This program will feature a reading of the “Grinch” in our restored parlor room as well as a display of holiday items from our archival collection. We will also talk about the history of Victorian holiday celebration customs and the practice of storytelling during the holidays. Each program will be approximately 15-20 minutes.

This year there will be readings at 12:00, 1:15, 2:00, and 2:45. Due to spacing issues, we will be limiting the attendance of each program to the first 20 people. Attendees can pick up their tickets at the Chester Inn Museum on the 25th. Tickets for the first two programs will be available starting at 11:00 am, and tickets will be available for the other programs starting at 1:00 pm. You can keep up with the event by following the Chester Inn Museum on Facebook! For questions, please call us at (423) 753-4580, email us at chesterinn@heritageall.org, or message us at the Chester Inn Museum on Facebook.

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

 

Special Called Board Meeting on November 6th

The Heritage Alliance has a special, called Board of Trustees Meeting on Monday, November 6th at 5:30 pm at the Jonesborough Visitors Center.

Members of the public wishing to speak concerning any item on the agenda during the Public Comment period must sign up by calling our Executive Director, Anne Mason, at 423-753-9580 with their name, address, and subject about which they wish to speak by 12:00 p.m. the day of the meeting. Otherwise, such member of the public must sign in at the location of the meeting, prior to the start of the meeting. Each individual shall be given three (3) minutes to address the Board regarding Agenda items. Comments shall be limited to items on the Agenda.

Agenda available here.

A Spot on the Hill Offers Special Matinee on Saturday, October 14th

A Spot on the Hill, Jonesborough’s annual cemetery play presented  by the Heritage Alliance will host a special matinee performance on Saturday, October 14th inside the auditorium of the Jonesborough Visitors Center. The play, now in its ninth year, shares the stories of the people buried in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. New stories include Miss Ethel Brown who was a teacher at Booker T. Washington School and Jonesborough Elementary School, brick and stonemason John Rhea, Dr. William R. Sevier who was instrumental during the cholera epidemic of 1873, and Samuel Irvin who has the oldest marker in the cemetery. You’ll meet them and many more!

 

The show on October 14th will start at 2:00 pm and last about an hour. Tickets are only $10.00 and proceeds from the play help fund preservation efforts in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. “Even if you do not see this show in the cemetery, it is still powerful,” Executive Director Anne Mason shares.  “We know that some people aren’t able to come to the cemetery to see the other performances, and we also know that some people don’t want to come near a cemetery. If that’s the case, this special matinee is a wonderful option.”

 

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

True and Chilling Tales Tours in Jonesborough this October

Come and learn some truly chilling history in Jonesborough this October. Have you ever wondered what happened to horse thieves in the late 1700s, or wanted to know why Andrew Jackson fought a duel in Jonesborough? What about a body discovered in a rain barrel in town? What’s the story behind that? Hear these very true tales and more during this unique tour that’s perfect for an October evening.

 

The True and Chilling Tales Tour will take place at 7:00 pm on October 24th, 25th, 26th, 30th, 31st and November 1st. Your guide will lead you down Main Street with the “book of poor souls.” Mind your step, lest you end up in that book, too. Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased through the Town of Jonesborough’s ticketing system at jonesborough.com/tickets. The tour will last an hour. Groups are limited to only 16 people, so make sure you buy your tickets in advance. The tours will depart from the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on Main Street. The tours will go on rain or shine. This tour is rated PG-13 for content and is not recommended for children under 13 years of age. Please note these stories are very true and some of them are gory and unpleasant and may be upsetting or triggering. Listeners beware.

Heritage Alliance Trivia Night Gets Spooky with the McKinney Center

The Scare-itage Alliance is teaming up with the McSpooky Center to put a haunting spin on History Trivia Night. Join us on September 30th for a frighteningly fun Halloween Trivia contest with questions to test your knowledge of all things ghostly and historical! This is the perfect way to kick off the spooky Halloween season.

 

The festivities will take place on Saturday, September 30th at 7:00 pm at the McKinney Center with general history-based trivia questions, friendly competition, a costume contest, and a ton of fun! Not a “history buff?” Don’t worry! These questions cover a wide range of topics and categories and include something for everyone. We will have Halloween related categories including urban legends, ghost stories, local haints, and more! Main Street Café will also be on hand to sell a frightening assortment of beers.

 

It’s only $8.00 per person to play! Tickets are available online at Jonesborough.com/tickets. Solo play is allowed. Teams are encouraged, but the person limit per team is 8 people. Please enter your team’s name in the comments when purchasing your tickets if you know it. Heritage Alliance and McKinney Center staff will host the event, tallying points and administering prizes to the winners. The event is family-friendly and open to all ages. The costume contest will occur during intermission. Dress up and try to win a prize!

 

For more information on the Heritage Alliance please call our office at 423.753.9580. You can also contact the organization via email at info@heritageall.org.  Additional information about the Heritage Alliance and its mission can be found online at http://www.heritageall.org/. For more information on the McKinney Center and their mission please call their office at 423.753.0562 or visit their website at https://mckinneycenter.com.

 

A Spot on the Hill Returns to Old Jonesborough Cemetery

A Spot on the Hill, the original, research-based play returns this October to the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. Now celebrating its ninth season, this edition features new characters. New stories include Miss Ethel Brown who was a teacher at Booker T. Washington School and Jonesborough Elementary School, brick and stonemason John Rhea, Dr. William R. Sevier who was instrumental during the cholera epidemic of 1873, and Samuel Irvin who has the oldest marker in the cemetery. Irvin’s marker is even older than the cemetery itself. You’ll meet them and many more! Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to sit on. Seats are not provided at the cemetery. 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 13th, 14th, 20th, and 21st. There will be a 2:00 p.m. matinee performance on October 14th in the Jonesborough Visitors Center and a 2:00 pm matinee in the cemetery on October 21st. At the outdoor matinee, there will be ASL interpretation provided by BridgeEAST. The indoor performance on October 14th is ADA accessible. Tickets are limited, and sell out fast, so make sure you buy yours today. Tickets are $10.00 and proceeds benefit the Heritage Alliance’s educational programs and initiatives, including ongoing programming in Jonesborough’s historic cemeteries.

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 less than 10 years of age. In case of inclement weather, the show will be canceled and audience members will be notified in advance.

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

“I’m free from the chain gang now:” Building the Railroads of the South and Convict Labor Leasing at History Happy Hour

Join the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on September 21st at 6:30 pm as we welcome Joshua Dacey, Site Manager at the Chester Inn Museum for this month’s History Happy Hour!

 

At the conclusion of the Civil War officials at the state and local levels in many of the former Confederate states vigorously fought to keep a racial caste system in place. This early Jim Crow period saw the enactment of laws and “Black Codes” specifically targeted at formerly enslaved individuals. For generations, skilled and unskilled enslaved men, women, and children were “hired out” to perform menial labor that their enslavers financially profited from. In a new system of convict labor leasing that developed after the Civil War, state and county governments likewise profited by using their prison populations to labor on commercial or private projects such as road construction, railway maintenance, logging, or mining.  What allowed them to do so was a loophole in the 13th Amendment that stipulates “involuntary servitude” will only be used as “punishment for a crime.” Beginning in 1866 and continuing until 1886, Tennessee quickly became one of the first states to implement convict labor leasing. Evidence also indicates that a system of convict labor leasing was utilized in Jonesborough as early as 1822. Mr. Dacey will be talking about all this and more. The program is entitled “I’m free from the chain gang now:” Building the Railroads of the South and Convict Labor Leasing. It will begin at 6:30 pm in the International Storytelling Festival. The program is free and open to the public!

 

The 2023 season of History Happy Hour will run from April through November with a new program every third Thursday of the month. The full schedule is available on the Chester Inn’s Facebook page and the Heritage Alliance’s website. If you can’t attend History Happy Hour in person, each 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.