Encounter unusual crafts at the Museum of Appalachia
I'd gone purely for the music. Each autumn the Museum of Appalachia hopes the three-day Tennessee Fall Homecoming, a festival that showcases bluegrass and old-time - and mountain crafts. After tasting a little donkey-milled sorghum (sweet, odd aftertaste), I headed to the main exhibition barn to look around. It included an extraordinary number of axes, a huge dead hornet's nest, and the creepy wooden dolls pictured above. I was sold.
The Museum's more than just this indoor collection - it's a whole village of original mountain cabins (Mark Twain's included), schoolhouses, outhouses and even a small wooden chapel where services are still held, and shape notes sung, every week. A fascinating and hands-on insight into the life of the pioneer mountain dwellers. Just keep an eye on those dolls.
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Taste of Appalachia History
Have you ever heard of a Ham Can Banjo? These Appalachian Folk are some crazy creative people. There's an entire section of the museum dedicated to nothing but musical instruments. I must've spent a good 1.5 hours in this one building reading and seeing everything from medicines to death crowns to quilts to original overalls from castaways living in caves. Another creative and humorous piece is the mustache teacup. I had a good laugh.
After touring around the museum, explore the collection of more than 30 Appalachian cabins, schoolhouses, and farm buildings from various places throughout Tennessee. The moonshine bootlegger, Popcorn Sutton's original whiskey distillery is displayed here as well.
The museum store offers lunch and desserts at a very reasonable price. Try the chili with cornbread.