Evening at the Museum on April 13th in Jonesborough

On Thursday, April 13th, guests will have a chance to stay late at the Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum located inside the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center. The Heritage Alliance will be hosting a special reception from 6:00 – 7:30 pm for their current exhibits, including: “Eight Myths About Appalachia,” “Fifty Years of the National Storytelling Festival,” and “Elihu Embree and Nancy: Principle vs. Practice.” We invite the community to come out for some history, music, games, and a chance to tell us what you would like to see in your local museum. The Bluebirds, a local bluegrass music act, will provide entertainment for the event and light refreshments will be served.


The Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum has been located in the Visitor’s Center since the 1980s. It has undergone several renovations, but some aspects have not changed since the museum opened over thirty years ago. The Heritage Alliance maintains the museum, and we would love to hear from the public as we work to make improvements to the space. Our organization hosts temporary exhibits every year, and we are excited to showcase our recent displays about Appalachian myths and stereotypes, storytelling, and The Emancipator.


“A county museum is where a community gets to tell its story. We hope that folks will come and visit the museum and share their ideas with us,” Executive Director Anne Mason encourages. This evening is also the perfect time to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Heritage Alliance, especially in the museum collections and archives. The Heritage Alliance always welcomes individuals interested in working with physical collections (such as transcribing letters, accessioning materials, organizing items, etc.) and with digital collections (scanning, uploading, tagging documents and photos).


Items currently on display in the museum include artifacts from the National Story League on loan from the Storytelling Resource Place, a beautiful collection of Cherokee China, and the clock that used to keep time in the 1847 Washington County Courthouse. Join us on April 13th for a special evening full of history, music, and fun. The Heritage Alliance would especially like to acknowledge and thank Humanities Tennessee, who generously funded “The Eight Myths About Appalachia” exhibit via a 2022 SHARP Grant, courtesy of the NEH.


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


New Museum Exhibit Tackles Regional Stereotypes

Many Appalachians are familiar with the stereotypes that our fellow Americans continue to possess about the region, even in the 21st century. Accused of everything from a lack of shoes and dental hygiene to the prevalence of the log cabin and outhouse, Appalachia has been characterized as violent, poor, backwards, and uneducated. But where did these stereotypes come from? And how accurately do they represent the Appalachian past and present?


In the new exhibit Eight Myths About Appalachia, which debuted at the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum in November 2022, the Heritage Alliance tries to set the record straight. Consisting of eight large panels, the exhibit tackles some of the prominent misconceptions about the region and explores the historical origins and inaccuracies that have been used to describe it (and its inhabitants) for hundreds of years. Relying on primary historical sources and original research, the exhibit confronts the unflattering imagery used by journalists, travel writers, politicians, entrepreneurs, academics, and more to describe Appalachians and their way of life.


The timing of such an exhibit could not be better, especially as conversations about the Appalachian region have repeatedly appeared in national news across popular culture, literature, academia, economics, and more. “As Appalachians living in the modern day, we still share much in common with our predecessors in terms of experiencing outside beliefs about our capabilities, our values, and the merit of our regional culture,” says Anne G’Fellers Mason, Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance. “This exhibit thoughtfully celebrates Appalachia and its residents, as well as offers an educational opportunity for visitors and tourists to take home with them.”


Eight Myths About Appalachia was researched, written, and produced by Dr. Megan Cullen Tewell, Programming Coordinator at the Heritage Alliance and an adjunct professor, who spent most of 2022 examining regional history as part of the exhibit’s development. “Using our historical expertise, I am hoping that this exhibit helps to reframe and reclaim the Appalachian narrative. I’m glad that we’ve been able to contribute something evidence-based and community-oriented for all folks to experience and learn from,” says Tewell. “It’s been a joy to work on.”


The exhibit is currently on display at the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum inside of the Jonesborough Visitors Center, and will be available for viewing until Fall 2023. The exhibit was made possible with a grant from Humanities Tennessee.


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