Region’s Rich Cultural Heritage Comes to Life at Museum of Appalachia

The peacocks are strutting, the goats are bleating, and the schoolchildren are touring. It’s a typical day at the Museum of Appalachia, where visitors can shop for local goods, tour historic homes, hear old-time music, or simply watch the sheep being sheared.

A living history center of the Southern Appalachian region, the Museum of Appalachia boasts historic buildings, folk art, and demonstrations by hundreds of regional craftspeople. Just 20 miles north of Knoxville off I-75, Norris, TN, is the perfect spot to stop for a spell.  Oh, and there’s a full restaurant and gift shop. Visitors can fuel up on soup beans and cornbread and buy some goodies made by local artists.

The grounds offer plenty of room for a walk—as you stretch, you’ll see a working pioneer farm, with typical crops of the region, 30 historic buildings, and of course the animals such as goats and peacocks roaming freely.

During a recent visit, I enjoyed listening to music by musicians set up in the gift shop. Musicians Chip Bailey, Pat Parr, Bob Cushman, and Bill Whitacre play regularly. Bailey, who plays fiddle for the group, stated that they enjoy the people from all over the world that stop by to talk and listen to their music.

“I-75 traffic is very diverse and brings in people from everywhere—they typically stop to eat lunch and possibly tour the museum. Many times they will dance (flat foot or waltz) to our music,” Bailey said. “We get a lot of positive comments and many people have never heard traditional Appalachian and Celtic music before—we play both. It’s very rewarding for all of us.”

To learn more about the museum and find upcoming special events, visit the website.