On March 1, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum unveiled the special exhibit “Made in Tennessee: Manufacturing Milestones.” The exhibit chronicles the rich variety of manufacturing traditions in Tennessee over the past 2 ½ centuries from the early agricultural and craft heritage to our current age of advanced technology and global competition. The diverse panels and artifacts highlight the history of manufacturing in Tennessee, while also featuring a huge variety of the industries and companies that were once found – or still exist – throughout the state, from Jack Daniels and the Chattanooga Glass Company to the Musgrave Pencil Company and Gibson USA. Several local manufacturers – past and present – are also featured, including Mapes Strings, L. C. King Manufacturing Co., Kingsport Press, and Eastman Chemical Company. The museum will also host a variety of programs throughout the life of the exhibit.
“This special exhibit is a wonderful fit for our museum,” says René Rodgers, Curator of Exhibits & Publications. “While it is less focused on music content than our previous special exhibits, ‘Made in Tennessee’ provides a wonderful learning resource to adults and children alike through its interesting history of Tennessee manufacturing. At the same time, this different content will bring new visitors through our doors, allowing us to share the wider museum – and the story of our music heritage – with them too.”
“The Museum of East Tennessee History is honored that the Birthplace of Country Music Museum chose to host ‘Made In Tennessee,’” says Adam H. Alfrey, Curator of Exhibitions and Operations Manager for the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. “The exhibition touches on all aspects of manufacturing from across our great state, and it is so rewarding to see how the Birthplace of Country Music Museum has added Bristol’s voice to the exhibition by highlighting local manufacturers.” Alfrey adds, “It is our sincere hope that Bristol and its surrounding communities use the exhibition to engage in dialogue about what it means to be ‘made in Tennessee.'”
“Made in Tennessee: Manufacturing Milestones” is a traveling exhibition organized by the East Tennessee Historical Society in Knoxville, Tennessee. The exhibition project was made possible through an educational grant from the Alcoa Foundation to highlight Tennessee’s manufacturing story – past, present, and future. The grant was awarded in honor of Alcoa Tennessee Operations 100th Anniversary and the announcement of its automotive expansion project on May 2, 2013. Additional support comes from the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The exhibit will run at the museum from March 1 to August 14, 2016.