Donating to the Collection
The East Tennessee Historical Society collections consist of some 10,000 artifacts. Items of material culture collected by the museum have passed the test of being made or used in East Tennessee, or somehow illustrate East Tennessee life and experience in a significant way.
Particular strengths of the collection include the decorative arts (especially furniture and paintings), textiles (especially quilts), and Civil War artifacts from both Union and Confederate armies, representing the "divided loyalties" characteristic of East Tennessee.
The Society is indebted to donors for growth of the museum collections. The collections policy is outlined more formerly here
. Recent acquisitions
are always recognized in issues of Newsline
, but highlights of some of the more popular donated items may be found here
The following have been identified as categories of special interest:
- African American history
- Artifacts and photographs
- Cast-iron stoves made in East Tennessee and early stoves and refrigerators (such as Magic Chef from Cleveland)
- Children's clothing and accessories from early 20th century and before
- Firearms, including rifles and pistols. All types made in East Tennessee as well as those marketed in the region, with markings of the seller (such as C.M. McClung & Co.); 18th or 19th century gun-making tools are also desired.
- Folk art
- Furniture (with clear East Tennessee maker or provenance
- Beds: cannonball, primitive Chairs: Windsor, Wilder, mule-ear
- Cupboards and Chests: corner cupboard, chest of drawers from early to late 19th century
- Pie Safes, circa 1900
- Tables: banquet, side, ordinary kitchen
- 20th-Century Manufactured East Tennessee Furniture: High Victorian parlor and decorative furniture
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Ku Klux Klan memorabilia and artifacts
- Medical artifacts
- Musical instruments
- Authentic instruments and artifacts of popular musicians, sound recordings
- Political memorabilia of notable East Tennessee political figures
- Pottery: A cross-section through time of typical examples of East Tennessee potters as well as some more unusal pieces.
- Quilts and coverlets, from 1780-1920. Each should be accompanied by identity of maker, place, date, pattern name, story behind the quilt, and if possible, photograph of the maker.
- Railroads, 1850s and after
- Small artifacts, photographs, maps, and ephemera, such as timetables
- Sewing machines, early
- Tennessee Valley Authority
- Removal documentation, electrical objects, photographs, and pottery
- Wartime memorabilia. Authentic uniforms, weapons, portraits, artifacts from each conflict: War of 1812 (1812-1815), Cherokee Removal (1838), Mexican War (1846-1848), Civil War (1861-1865), including "Sultana" artifacts or photographs, Spanish-American War (1898), World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and other conflicts
If you are interested in donating three-dimensional items to the ETHS collections, please send information to Michele MacDonald, Curator of Collections, P.O. Box 1629, Knoxville, TN 37901, (865) 215-8829, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Stephanie Henry, (865) 215-9924, or shenry@eastTNhistory.org.
To donate two-dimensional items such as photographs, papers or manuscripts, ephemera, family Bibles with genealogical information, and the like, contact Steve Cotham, manager of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, which is also housed at the East Tennessee History Center. Mr. Cotham may be reached at (865) 215-8829 or at email@example.com