Museum of Appalachia

Step Back in Time to Pioneer Life 
in the Appalachian Mountains

The Museum of Appalachia gives you a taste of pioneer mountain life, without the discomfort and inconvenience of actually living that way. As you drive in, you can almost feel time slowing down. Sheep are grazing in the pasture, enclosed by the traditional split rail fence, and a drowsy feeling of rural serenity hangs in the air.

Museum of Appalachia farm and barn

The Museum is really more like a demonstration farm than a collection of artifacts, although it is that too. It's a working farm, complete with sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks, chickens and peacocks. Haystacks sit in the field, and a large garden provides beans, corn, tomatoes and herbs.

Museum of Appalachia entrance

One of the many peacocks at the Museum of Appalachia

The Museum of Appalachia boasts more than 35 authentic log cabins and historic buildings, including several log homes, a chapel, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop and barns. You enter the Museum through the gift shop, which features local crafts, antiques and books. A small restaurant prepares home-cooked meals.

At the Appalachian Hall of Fame, housed in a separate brick building, you'll find a variety of exhibits. There are artifacts from some of the personalities of East Tennessee, including Howard Baker and Dolly Parton. An impressive variety of handmade musical instruments demonstrates the ingenuity of these mountain folk. Other exhibits give you a glimpse into how they handled illness and death.

At the Display Barn, you'll find an extensive collection of pioneer artifacts, including everyday items and folk art. Carving walking sticks into intricate designs seemed to have been a favorite pastime.

The log cabins are outfitted much as their original residents would have done, and to complete the picture, you'll often find a group of musicians sitting on the front porch picking out a tune together.

The Museum is 16 miles north of Knoxville, near Norris, Tennessee. Take I-75 to Exit 122. It's open everyday except Christmas. See the official Museum of Appalachia website for hours and admission fees.

commode guitar at the Museum of Appalachia
handmade guitar at the Museum of Appalachia
handmade mandolin at the Museum of Appalachia

A collection of handmade instruments, including the commode guitar on the left and a mandolin on the right

Mark Twain cabin at the Museum of Appalachia

This cabin was once the home of Mark Twain's parents, who moved before Twain was born.  The cabin was relocated to the Museum from 'Possum Trot, Tennessee.

Some of the things you'll see at the Museum of Appalachia include folk carvings of Abe Lincoln and Uncle Sam,  a collection of concrete religious signs and a wheelwright's shop.

Outhouse at the Museum of Appalachia

This outhouse serves as a reminder to be grateful for our modern conveniences.

Mother hen and chicks
garden at the Museum of Appalachia