Calendar of Events

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Knox County Public Library's Books Sandwiched In: Dr. Zach McKenney

  • January 23, 2019
  • 12:00 Noon

Category: Free event, History & heritage, Lectures and Literature & readings

Knox County Public Library invites the public to join Dr. Zach McKenney for a consideration of Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein, at noon on Wed., Jan. 23, in the East Tennessee History Center auditorium (601 South Gay Street).

"Amy Goldstein provides a harrowing account of the human consequences of plant shutdowns and the rippling effects that they have throughout affected communities," McKenney said.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Amy Goldstein spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors assembly plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession. With intelligence, sympathy and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, Goldstein shows the consequences of one of America’s biggest political issues. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

McKenney is a lecturer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he received his doctorate in sociology with a concentration in political economy and globalization. His dissertation was about the evolving relationship between states, corporations, and trade unions in the current era of neoliberal globalization. His research interests include social movements, social theory, qualitative research methods, and experiential learning.

Books Sandwiched In is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of Knox County Public Library. Bring a sandwich or pick up something at a downtown restaurant. Drinks will be available for 50 cents.

UT Downtown Gallery: Violins of Hope

Category: Exhibitions & visual art, Fine Crafts, Free event and History & heritage

For a First Friday Reception, Friday, January 4th, 5-9pm at the UT Downtown Gallery

The Violins of Hope are a collection of restored violins that were played by Jewish musicians during The Holocaust. These instruments have survived concentration camps, pogroms and many long journeys to tell remarkable stories of injustice, suffering, resilience, and survival. The collection was assembled and restored by Israeli master violin maker and restorer, Amnon Weinstein.

In some cases, the ability to play the violin spared Jewish musicians from more grueling labors or even death. Nearly 50 years ago, Amnon heard such a story from a customer who brought in an instrument for restoration. The customer survived the Holocaust because his job was to play the violin while Nazi soldiers marched others to their deaths. When Amnon opened the violin’s case, he saw ashes. He thought of his own relatives who had perished and was overwhelmed. He could not bring himself to begin the project.

By 1996, Amnon was ready. He put out a call for violins from the Holocaust that he would restore in hopes that the instruments would sound again.

Amnon started locating violins that were played by Jews in the camps and ghettos, painstakingly piecing them back together so they could be brought to life again on the concert stage. Although most of the musicians who originally played the instruments were silenced by the Holocaust, their voices and spirits live on through the violins that Amnon has lovingly restored. He calls these 50 instruments the Violins of Hope.

There will be extended hours for this special exhibition. The UT Downtown Gallery will be open M-F from 11am – 6pm, Saturdays from 10am – 3pm, and Sundays from 1-4pm.

UT Downtown Gallery, 106 S. Gay St, Knoxville, TN 37902. Information: 865-673-0802, http://web.utk.edu/~downtown

Beck Cultural Exchange Center: I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage

  • November 2, 2018 — February 9, 2019

Category: Exhibitions & visual art, Free event, History & heritage and Music

Beck presents the exhibition, I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage, opening November 2, 2018. The exhibition, organized by the Tennessee State Museum, gives a snapshot of Tennessee’s rich African American musical heritage and its influence on worldwide musical genres.

The Volunteer State has been the birthplace of some of the most influential music in the world, from the Beale Street blues clubs in Memphis, to the R&B scene on Nashville’s Jefferson Street and the jazz in Knoxville’s Gem Theatre. The history of African American music follows the hardship of slavery in America. American slaves adapted their African ancestors’ music to hand clapping, singing, the fiddle and the African–derived banjo.

Expressing their sorrows from bondage, and joy for their ultimate deliverance, these enslaved persons found an original, musical voice sung in their spirituals and folk music. This voice has left a monumental cultural stamp on American music, including blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and soul music. In turn, this music has influenced and enriched music around the world.

The exhibit introduces viewers to many famous Tennessee music legends — Bessie Smith, who was nicknamed the “Empress of the Blues;” B.B. King, often referred to as the “King of the Blues;” Grand Ole Opry star DeFord Bailey; and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Tina Turner. The exhibit gives visitors a chance to hear the voices of the many Tennessee African American men and women who made their mark on American music from ragtime to Motown.

Visitors can view YouTube videos of various performers and musicians featured in the exhibition on their smart phones or tablets through the use of QR-coded links. Educators who are interested in teaching about Tennessee’s African American musical heritage will be provided with curriculum-based educational lesson activities.

http://www.beckcenter.net/museum-exhibit-s/

Beck Cultural Exchange Center: 1927 Dandridge Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37915. Hours: Tu-Sa 10-6. Information: 865-524-8461, www.beckcenter.net

East Tennessee Historical Society: A Home for Our Past: The Museum of East Tennessee History at 25

Category: Exhibitions & visual art and History & heritage

A Home for Our Past: The Museum of East Tennessee History at 25 a new feature exhibition at the Museum of East Tennessee History

The public opening of the exhibition begins at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, September 14, with light refreshments and ribbon cutting and remarks at 5:15.

When the Museum of East Tennessee History opened in 1993, it fulfilled a shared vision to preserve and interpret the region’s rich history for the benefit of all, a vision first articulated a century and a half earlier. On May 5, 1834, Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey addressed a group of a historically-minded citizens gathered for the first annual meeting of the East Tennessee Historical and Antiquarian Society. Concerned that many of the participants in Tennessee’s early history were passing away and with them their memories, Ramsey issued a call to action: “Let us hasten to redeem the time that is lost.”

Today, 184 years later, Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey’s plea to save Tennessee’s past continues to reverberate in the galleries of the East Tennessee Historical Society’s museum, a permanent home for our region’s cherished stories, traditions, and artifacts. The East Tennessee Historical Society actively began collecting artifacts and producing award-winning interpretive exhibits in 1993, which has now grown to more than 16,000 artifacts housed within the East Tennessee History Center. In this special exhibition, ETHS is excited to highlight East Tennessee’s unique history through a variety of artifacts, with at least one exhibited item from each year of ETHS’s active 25 years of collections, most of which are rarely or never on display.

The exhibition includes more than twenty-five artifacts and numerous photographs and illustrations representative of East Tennessee’s unique history. Some of the items include an 1883 Springfield penny-farthing, the first apparatus to be called a “bicycle”; an 1822 artificial hand that belonged to a teacher from Union County; a silver coffee and tea service from the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad presented to Superintendent James Baker Hoxsie upon his retirement in 1866; a coverlet woven by one of the famed Walker sisters of Greenbrier; a shirt stating “Healing in the name of Jesus. Take up serpents, Acts 2:38” worn during religious services practicing snake handling in Cocke County; an 1817 bead necklace belonging to Eliza Sevier, the wife of Templin Ross and the granddaughter of both John Sevier and Cherokee Chief Oconostota; a 1907 baseball uniform from a coal town’s team in Marion County; and the distinctive backdrop and wall clock from WBIR-TV variety program "The Cas Walker Farm & Home Show." The exhibit also features a brilliant display of East Tennessee furniture, textiles, folk art, instruments, and vintage toys.

Also on display are more than two dozen featured artifacts from the Tennessee State Museum. A new Tennessee State Museum will open on the grounds of the Bicentennial Capital Mall in Nashville on October 4. ETHS is honored to display select East Tennessee artifacts from their collection, highlighting the programmatic ties between the two institution as well as the museums’ shared mission to preserve Tennessee’s rich history. Selected items include a 1792 map of the State of Franklin, an 1831 copy of the Cherokee Phoenix & Indians Advocate newspaper, and a 19th century flintlock muzzle loading rifle made by Baxter Bean of Washington County.

East Tennessee Historical Society, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902. Museum hours: M-F 9-4, Sa 10-4, Su 1-5. Information: 865-215-8824, www.easttnhistory.org