Steeped in History: Exploring the Tennessee River Valley Through…

Steeped in History: Exploring the Tennessee River Valley Through…

Visitors admire the Space Shuttle from below at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. (Photo credit: Dennis Keim)

A trip to the Tennessee River Valley offers the best of both worlds. An outdoor mecca of picture-perfect scenery and recreational activities offer hours of adventure and plenty of museums tell the story of the region where history ranges from frontier life to space exploration.

Flowing 652 miles through seven states -Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee- the Tennessee River derives its name from the Cherokee town of Tanasi. An important river highway for travel, commerce and exploration, the area was settled as early as 8,000 years ago and explored by Spanish expeditions in 1540. Early settlers have influenced the culture, music and future of this region, and today visitors can learn about the Tennessee River Valley’s history and heritage through interactive displays, artifacts and living museums.    

“A trip to the Tennessee River Valley offers the best of both worlds. An outdoor mecca of picture-perfect scenery and recreational activities offer hours of adventure and plenty of museums tell the story of the region where history ranges from frontier life to space exploration. The Tennessee River Valley Mapguide can help you plan a trip that will not only be fun, but will inspire you,” stated Julie Graham, spokesperson for the Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council.

The Tennessee River Valley is filled with hundreds of museums, interpretive centers, historic sites and natural areas that preserve and interpret the many stories that tell the history of the region. To learn more about the region’s story, the Tennessee River Valley Mapguide has compiled a list of some of the top museums worth exploring.

One of the most influential exports of the Tennessee River Valley is Appalachian music and the musicians who influenced today’s music genres of bluegrass, country, Americana, folk, rock and roll, jazz, blues and pop. The Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, Va. provides visitors with an opportunity to listen to some of the earliest commercial recordings of legendary artists such as the Carter Family from nearby Scott County, Va. and Jimmie Rodgers from Meridian, Miss.

The International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn. is renowned for its role in preserving oral storytelling, an art that has lasted centuries as a method of sharing news and documenting history. From early spring to late fall, visitors gather to hear stories and listen to the words of master oral artists from around the world. Visitors are encouraged to plan visits in advance as these events typically sell out.

Travel back in time to learn about pioneer life on the farm at the internationally acclaimed Museum of Appalachia located in Clinton, Tenn. This living museum featuring 30 plus buildings plus farm animals is a fun way to learn about early settlers’ lives in the Tennessee River Valley. The museum also features special events such as Sheep Shearing Day, traditional art demonstrations and musical events.

Also nearby is the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Learn how 75,000 people kept a secret during World War II to help end the war and how this community still contributes to American history in keeping the United States as a “super power” in computers.

Knoxville, Tenn. is home to the Frank H. McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. The museum features exhibitions of the early native people of Tennessee and Civil War artifacts. Permanent exhibitions include the Civil War in Knoxville: Battle of Fort Sanders and the Geology and Fossil History of Tennessee.

Fifty years ago when Apollo Eleven took flight on July 16, 1969, the world watched as man was able to take his first steps on the moon because of the rocket design work of Dr. Wernher von Braun’s group in Huntsville, Ala. Today, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is the largest museum of rocket science in the world. Where else can one stand beneath a full-stack Space Shuttle or walk the length of the Saturn V moon rocket?

Discover the heritage of the Tennessee River Valley as told through the stories of people and places. All listings on the Tennessee River Valley Mapguide have been nominated by local people who know the region best and offer visitors the most unique, fun and interesting experiences. For more information, visit http://www.exploreTRV.com.    

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Published at Fri, 12 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0000