Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 1 at FGS Continued: An Evening in Old Appalachia

We had a lovely evening at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. It couldn’t have been more perfect. We had a great time talking with Kimberly Powell of Genealogy and several other attendees on the bus ride to the Museum and at dinner. And Paula Stuart-Warren of Paula's Genealogical Eclectica made a wonderful “Bus Leader”! The Appalachian Hall of Fame was a total delight; below you’ll see that my pictures there heavily favored musical instruments. There were also several dulcimer players performing, and it was especially touching when they played “Amazing Grace” and the audience joined in the singing.

Next we went out to the Jail Cells and the Display Barn (the next set of pictures), but since it was starting to get dark, we opted to leave the rest of the other buildings to another visit (we will definitely come back to see everything – it’s worth it) and listen to the bluegrass concert from the stage on the lawn, which was where most of the FGS group had clustered. To bring the entire evening to a touching conclusion, John Rice Irwin himself joined the musicians with his mandolin and voice and also told a few stories (see the bottom picture). He is an amazing man, still active, who spent a good part of his life traveling around Southern Appalachia, collecting artifacts and interviewing the residents. He put the results together in this fascinating indoor/outdoor museum. While he made no effort for the displays to be “slick and shiny,” they are very informative and make a strong impact.

Toilet-seat banjo and gourd banjo




Fiddles of various shapes, sizes, and woods/colors

A "hubcap banjo"

A "ham can banjo"

A wandering peacock helps to entertain the audience

The Jail Cells

Some items in the Display Barn

John Rice Irwin joins the bluegrass players on the stage


  1. I'm so jealous-I've always wanted to visit the museum-but haven't got too yet. Glad it went so well for you.

  2. Tipper - You will really love it. It's not like so many other museums (which are sometimes in danger of resembling one another just a bit too much).