New Exhibit at Chuckey Depot Museum

Ever heard of Elijah McCoy or Mary Colter? We guarantee you’ve benefited from their inventions and ideas. The Chuckey Depot Museum in Jonesborough will host a reception for its newest exhibit “Our Work, Our Stories: African Americans, Women, and the Railroad” on Saturday, March 11th from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. The exhibit features information and artifacts on Pullman Porters, Gandy Dancers, Harvey Girls, the railroad during World War II, and more!

 

This exhibit highlights the stories of inventors, dreamers, and union members who forever changed the way trains work and the way people travel. Come out to the museum between 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm on March 11th to view the new exhibit. Light refreshments will be served. The Chuckey Depot Museum is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.

 

The Chuckey Depot Museum has new hours! From March through September, you can visit the museum in person on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm and Saturday from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. From October through February, the museum will be open on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. For more information on the exhibit or the Chuckey Depot Museum, visit Jonesborough.com, follow the Chuckey Depot on Facebook, or call the Visitor’s Center at 423-753-1010.

Chester Inn Museum Opens for 2023 Season with New Exhibit and Town Tour Times

The Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum is now open for its 2023 season! The museum is currently on its spring hours and is open Monday and Friday-Saturday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Hours will expand for the summer on Wednesday, May 3rd.

 

In addition to the museum’s permanent exhibits about the history of Jonesborough, special exhibits focus on local historian and explorer Paul Fink and his efforts to create the Appalachian Trail, the tragedy and triumph behind the Cherokee diaspora from Appalachia, and a closer look at abolitionism in Northeast Tennessee prior to the Civil War. There museum tour also includes three; restored rooms that depict what the inn might have looked like when it was a functioning hotel at the turn of the twentieth century.

 

“The State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Historical Commission completed a major, capital improvement project on the building last year,” says Heritage Alliance Executive Director Anne Mason. “Thanks to their restoration efforts, the building looks closer to its late 1800s appearance now than it ever has before, at least since the 1800s. We’re also excited to re-open the historic projecting porch this season.”

 

Site Manger Joshua Dacey explains, “Our new exhibits not only bring to light lesser-known histories of Jonesborough, but they also humanize seminal figures from Jonesborough’s past. We hope visitors can make meaningful connections to those stories and individuals.” The current special exhibits will be on display through the summer, so make sure you stop by and check them out. There is no admission price for the Chester Inn Museum, but there is a suggested $2 donation per visitor. Keep up to date with the museum by following the Chester Inn on Facebook and YouTube! The museum will also be hosting an Open House on March 9th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Visit the museum after hours that evening and learn how you can volunteer to be a museum host and/or a tour guide.

 

Historic Jonesborough Town Tours are also back in full swing on Saturdays starting on March 4th.  Town Tours are available every Saturday at 1:00 pm.  This year Town Tours will also be available at 3:00 pm on Sundays before Brews and Tunes from June through September. Tickets are only $5.00. 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 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 info@heritageall.org.  Additional information about the Heritage Alliance and its mission can be found online at http://www.heritageall.org/. 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.

Chester Inn Museum Open House on March 9th

Have you ever visited the oldest commercial building in Tennessee’s Oldest Town. If not, the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum is hosting an Open House on Thursday, March 9th from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm. Come by and check out the historic site after hours and view our new exhibits. If you have visited in the past, we encourage you to come back and visit again. The Open House will also be the perfect opportunity to learn about becoming a volunteer for the museum.

 

Do you love history? Do you love talking to people about history? The Chester Inn Museum is currently seeking any and all volunteers to fill a variety of positions. In addition to giving tours and staffing the museum, we also need volunteers to work with our archival collection, processing historical documents, and organizing artifacts. We are looking for Town Tour guides to offer tours exploring the history and architecture of Jonesborough. Guides are also needed to give tours of Jonesborough’s historic cemeteries. We invite you to come learn more about these exciting opportunities at our Open House.

 

The Chester Inn Museum is open March and April on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11-6 pm, and on Sundays from 1-5 pm. From May-October the museum has regular hours 6 days a week before returning to a 4 day weekly schedule in November and December.

 

The Chester Inn Museum is a state-owned historic site and is staffed by the Heritage Alliance, a local organization dedicated to education and preservation. The museum is an integral part of community outreach, programming, and interpretation for the Heritage Alliance. Being a volunteer at the Chester Inn is a great way to get to know your neighbors while also interacting with visitors from around the world. Tens of thousands of people come through the museum every year.

 

The Chester Inn features a first floor museum that has a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibit space. The permanent exhibits include wall panels focusing on the origins and evolution of the inn and the town of Jonesborough. The temporary exhibits feature a rotating mix of artifacts, photographs, and other items from the Heritage Alliance’s archival collection and cover a wide range of topics that usually center on local history or putting regional history into a larger context of national and international trends.

 

The 2nd and 3rd floor of the Inn includes a tour of three restored rooms: a dining room, parlor room, and lodging room, all restored to what they would have looked like in the late 19th century. The first floor museum is self-guided, but the restored rooms’ tour is led by a trained guide.

 

This Chester Inn is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historic Commission. For more information on the Chester Inn Museum 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 info@heritageall.org.  Additional information about the Heritage Alliance and its mission can be found online at http://www.heritageall.org/. 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.

 

Heritage Alliance Board Meeting

The next scheduled meeting of the Heritage Alliance Board of Trustees will take place on Monday, February 20th at 5:30 pm at the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center. The meeting is open to the public. Agenda available upon request.

Chester Inn Museum Open Feb 10-11 for ChocolateFest

The Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum (116 W Main Street) will be open during Jonesborough’s ChocolateFest on Friday, February 10th and Saturday, February 11th. The museum will be open from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm each day. There will be a Town Tour on Saturday at 1:00 pm. Tickets for the tour are $5.00. We’ll have special, vintage Valentine’s on display in the museum.

Useable Past – Safe Travels: Inclusive Tourism in Appalachia

Register here: https://bit.ly/3iOl6Ut
Over 100 million visitors come to Tennessee each year, and the State typically earns over 20 billion dollars in revenue from tourists. The Usable Past Series continues to explore the opportunities that exist in our own communities to meet the needs of our tourists, achieve the revenue and interpretive goals at our historic and cultural institutions, and create an environment where visitors feel safe and represented.
In historic Northeast Tennessee, heritage tourism is a large part of why people travel: they want to know their history. However, this is a field that has struggled to be inclusive and welcoming to visitors of all backgrounds. The Usable Past Series has engaged tourism industry leaders at all levels and from a variety of venues to discuss their best practices, their own challenges, and their successes in meeting their missions.
Speakers for this session focused on the economic benefits of inclusivity in tourism in Appalachia include Stephanie Jones, Founder & CEO of the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc. and a founder of the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative, and Jenni Veal, Rural Destination Development Manager. Presenters for this session, Useable Past, Safe Travels: Inclusive Tourism in Appalachia, will discuss inclusive tourism and leisure practices in the Appalachian region. Panelists will address current/ongoing projects related to African American and Native-American travel and identify strategies to create and expand future opportunities for diverse and equitable travel.
This free workshop will take place online from 10:00 am to 11:30 am on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. Dr. Daryl Carter, Director of the Black American Studies program at East Tennessee University, and Jules Corriere at the McKinney Center will moderate the Q&A session following the presentations. Participants can register for the event through the McKinney Center’s website at McKinneyCenter.com Participants must register in advance to receive the Zoom link. More information can be found on the Useable Past Facebook page or at McKinneyCenter.com.
This workshop series is a collaboration between several organizations, including the McKinney Center, the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, the Langston Centre, and the Black American 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 Black American Studies program 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.

 

History Trivia Night Comes to the Langston Centre for Black History Month

The Heritage Alliance’s riotously fun history trivia night is back on Friday, February 3rd at the Langston Centre.

 

Join us at the Langston Centre at 7:00 pm for a special, Black History Month edition of the friendly and fun competition. Not a “history buff?” Don’t worry! Trivia questions cover a wide range of topics and categories and include something for everyone. This edition is a partnership between the Heritage Alliance, Langston Centre, and Black American Studies Program at ETSU and is part of a month long series of programs to celebrate Black History Month.

 

Teams (of up to eight people) can register up until the evening of the event, which will kick off at 7:00 pm and last approximately two hours. You can sign your team up for trivia at Heritageall.org. The link to sign up for the event is at the top of the page. We request that teams check in with the hosts prior to the event. Joe Spiker and Megan Cullen Tewell with the Heritage Alliance will host the event, tallying points and administering prizes to the winners. The event is family-friendly and open to all ages. There is no cost to participate, but a donation to the hosting organizations is appreciated.

 

 

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/. Be sure to follow the Heritage Alliance Facebook page for updates about events and programs. For more information on the Langston Centre visit https://www.johnsoncitytn.org/residents/langston_community_center.php. For more information on the Black American Studies Program at ETSU visit https://www.etsu.edu/afam/.

POSTPONED: Original Play “Nancy” to be performed at ETSU on February 2nd

DUE TO UNCONTROLLABLE CIRCUMSTANCES, THIS SHOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL THE FALL SEMESTER.

 

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 in the Bach Theatre at East Tennessee State University on February 2nd in an original play entitled “Nancy.”

 

Written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance, “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. The role of Nancy will be performed by local actress Ubunibi-Afia Short. “Nancy” has received multiple awards including an Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Association of Museums and a Certificate of Excellence from the East Tennessee Historical Society.

 

“It is an honor to bring the show to ETSU and share it with a new audience” Mason says. “We are very excited to partner with the Black American Studies Program as well as the Department of Theatre and Dance to make this performance possible.” The performance at 7:30 pm on February 2nd will be free of charge, but donations to the participating organizations are encouraged. The show will be performed inside the Bach Theatre located in the James C. and Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts at 1320 W State of Franklin Road. Performances of this show have sold out in the past, so make sure you get to the theatre between 7:00 and 7:30 pm on February 2nd to ensure you get a seat. 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.

 

 

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. 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/.

Heritage Alliance Annual Meeting on January 19th

We’re excited to announce the return of our Annual Membership Meeting in physical form. The official invitation is below. Please mark January 19, 2023 on your calendars. This is always one of the best potluck meals of the year. Bring a side dish or dessert and celebrate as we ring out 2022 and ring in 2023. Please RSVP no later than 01/12/2023.

Heritage Alliance Looks Back on 2022, an Award-Winning Year

2022 was an award-winning year for the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. In March, the Heritage Alliance received three awards from the Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM). The organization received an Award of Excellence in the Audio Visual-Video Blog category for the YouTube series “Exhibit Extras.” The series is viewable on the Chester Inn Museum’s YouTube channel. The Heritage Alliance also received Awards of Excellence in the Temporary Exhibit category for the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum’s exhibit “The Noblest Art: A Local History of the Circus” and in the Special Event category for “Nancy’s Story.” “Nancy’s Story,” which tells the story of Elihu Embree’s enslaved woman Nancy, was also a nominee for TAM’S Past President Award, the highest honor bestowed by the professional organization. In addition to those other awards, volunteer museum docent Charlene Cleveland received special recognition for her volunteer service. She has volunteered at the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum since the museum opened in 2011.

 

In June, the Heritage Alliance received a History in the Media Award from the East Tennessee Historical Society for “Nancy’s Story.” The award-winning play was performed three times in 2022. It will be back onstage on February 2nd in collaboration with ETSU Black American Studies and ETSU Department of Theatre and Dance.

 

Volunteer Gordon Edwards received recognition in 2022 as well. He was awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Tennessee Historical Commission for his preservation efforts in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery and throughout the area. Thanks to his efforts, hundreds of markers have been cleaned and repaired in the Rocky Hill and College Hill Cemeteries. The Heritage Alliance conducts tours in the cemetery in the summer and holds the original play “A Spot on the Hill” in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery every October.

 

“It is a great honor to be recognized for all our hard work,” Anne Mason Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance shares. “We are a small staff of only three people, but we strive to ensure that our exhibits and programs are on par with larger institutions. We are also fortunate to have so many wonderful volunteers who help us achieve our goals. We can’t wait to see what 2023 brings our way.”