The East Tennessee History Center
If you are looking to learn a little bit more about the history of the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains, then you might want to make a trip to Knoxville, TN. In the middle of downtown, right on Gay Street is the home of the East Tennessee Historical Society and their museum. The East Tennessee History Center is one of the best local museum you will ever find and it has a plethora of information about the SMoky Mountains and the people that populated them on the Tennessee side of the mountains.
The permanent exhibit is a museum that covers the history of Tennessee. This hands on museum covers all 35 counties and ranges from the people that settled this land before the times of the European settlers to the Secret City – Oak Ridge – itself. Each section of the museum covers a different time period or a different set of people. From the moonshiners to the origins of country music, from a replica cabin to the founding of Knoxville. East Tennessee is celebrated in recordings, art, architecture and exhibits that tell a tale: a tale of success and falure, of happiness and disappointment but mostly, the tale of a people that kept pressing forward to make their dreams come true.
The East Tennessee Historical Society does a lot more then curate a museum. They are also the curators of a mass of genealogical record sin East Tennessee. They also supply a seemingly never ending series of talks and lectures on topics ranging from art and music in the East Tennessee area to basic history about this region. These talks and lecture series are all laid out on their website so if you are going to be in the area you might want to schedule sometime for a special event or program at the East Tennessee Historical Society. They also have a changing exhibit that changes from month to month and season to season.
The museum and the society are located in the same building in downtown Knoxville. If you are traveling along I-40, take the exit for downtown and head into the downtown area. If you cut across from Henley Street toward the old city you will cross over Gay Street. Gay street runs from the river all the way to the Old City. This used to be the main street in Knoxville and it still contains a lot of history like the Tennessee Theater and access to Market Square. The East Tennessee Historical Society is about a block from the Tennessee Theater, toward the river.
East Tennessee Historical Society
601 South Gay St