“ETHS staff and board are very pleased to announce that the Museum of East Tennessee History is officially re-opened as of Saturday, August 1, 2020, which makes the East Tennessee History Center fully re-opened to the public,” said Executive Director Cherel Henderson. “The Museum and all public programming at the History Center has been closed since March 23, 2020, as ETHS worked to do our part in helping keep our community as safe as possible from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
ETHS is following the guidelines within the Tennessee Pledge and has modified the Museum of East Tennessee History’s visitor experience. ETHS asks that all museum visitors support our community’s health by observing these guidelines:
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering at all times (masks are available on site)
- Make regular use of the hand sanitizing stations located throughout the building
- Stay at least six feet away from anyone not in your household
- Follow one-way path markers
- Stay at home if you are sick
The Museum will close one hour early each day for enhanced cleaning. The hours, which are updated on the website are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Certain Museum features have also been modified to increase visitor safety. Examples are interactive exhibitions have been turned off, and seating has been removed to provide additional room for physical distancing. The newly completed Children & Family gallery, History Headquarters, originally scheduled to open April 3, 2020 has now been postponed to mid-October in order to adapt visitor protocols for the gallery’s highly interactive activity stations.
ETHS staff look forward to welcoming visitors to the Museum of East Tennessee History and to share the newest exhibit, Black & White., Knoxville in the Jim Crow Era featuring the stories of African American artists Beauford Delaney, Joseph Delaney, and Ruth Cobb Brice, with contributions by guest historian Robert J. Booker. The exhibition, which opened February 20, 2020, right before the Museum closed, and has now been extended to provide visitors’ access to this important part of East Tennessee’s past.
Public programming i.e. Brown Bag lunches, guest speakers, genealogy classes, that are held on site have not resumed yet due to the limit on group size and social distancing. However, over the last several months ETHS staff have pivoted to developing virtual programs. We are holding live visits via Zoom and Facebook Live to tour historic sites around the region on every other Thursday. The next virtual tour is scheduled for Thursday, August 6 at 1 p.m. and will be visiting The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School in Jonesborough, TN.
To stay informed of further plans and to access information and resources about “all things history” we urge ETHS members, patrons, and friends to regularly check www.eastTNhistory.org and follow on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.