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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Museum of Appalachia

We spent a great day today at the Museum of Appalachia. It is a 40 acre facility that John Rice Irwin created to honor the people of Appalachia in the late 1700s, early 1800s. Mr. Irwin spent the last 40 years collecting all of the items found here. There are more than 35 buildings on the facility and all of them are actual buildings that were lived in, worked in, worshiped in, and farmed. They are not replicas, but were owned by various individuals and families who have since allowed Mr. Irwin to move them to his museum for others to appreciate.

As you enter the compound, the first thing you see is a farmhouse
that we weren't sure if it is still lived in or not and various livestock, cows, goats, sheep, and mules. The ram shown here was so camera happy! As soon as I got out of the truck, he ran over to the fence as if to say, "Take my picture!" Or he could have hoped I'd feed him. There are also chickens, peacocks and peahens on the land. One type of chicken I had never seen before - it was furry!! In addition to the pictures I've posted here, I have sooooooooo many more at our Webshots site. You really need to see those, too. I tried to give you a "virtual" tour of the place. That address is:

In addition to the buildings, he has collected tools, housewares, Native American artifacts, toys, the facade of a Post Office and inventory of a General Store. You can spend the entire day going through the Hall of Fame which houses so many of the collectibles and the Display Barn which holds even more of them. One of the neat displays in the Hall of Fame is the Sgt. York display. Apparently, the Sgt. York that was immortalized in the film with Gary Cooper, came from East Tennessee. Another of the amazing displays records the history of the music of this region. So many famous musicians and instruments came from here - Roy Acuff, Grandpa Jones, the Carter Family, just to name a few. And the instruments - dulcimers, mandolins, banjoes, guitars.

Some of the homes Mr. Irwin moved here are: one of Mark Twain's family homes (he never lived in this particular one); the cabin used in the TV show, "Young Dan'l Boone;" and the Arnwine Cabin. This cabin is the smallest structure to be listed on the National Historic Register. The last home pictured is the "homestead" house around which stood all of the buildings one family would use to function, i.e., privy, loom house, slave quarters, smokehouse, underground dairy, etc.

If you do go to the website to look at the rest of the pictures, know that I tried to order them as we saw them. As you have probably guessed, we really enjoyed this trip through Appalachia. It is amazing the work these people did with the primitive tools they had. And as one of the musicians on the site said, they didn't know they were poor, they just functioned as the only way they knew.

We are going to Rugby tomorrow. That is a Utopian town founded by Thomas Hughes, an Englishman who was a second son and therefore did not have an inheritance, so he came to America to "make his way." More history - I love it!

I hope you can find enjoyment in every day, too! Until the next time . . .

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