About ETHS

The mission of the East Tennessee Historical Society is to preserve, interpret, and promote the history of Tennessee, focusing on East Tennessee, to educate and connect the region, its people, history, culture, and heritage.


Connecting the Region and Its History

The East Tennessee Historical Society is one of the most active private historical organizations in the state. We specialize in finding creative ways to introduce the public to the fascinating world of history.

Recognizing that East Tennessee’s history, heritage, and geography are distinct from the rest of the state, the East Tennessee Historical Society provides services and programs uniquely tailored to the region. ETHS partners with and promotes the history and events of organizations and sites across our 35 counties. We have 45 affiliate chapters across the region.

Staff & Board

Our Passionate Staff

Meet the people behind the society.


Career Opportunities

Join a dynamic team dedicated to creating historical experiences at an award-winning museum.


Affiliates and Local Societies

Working together to preserve and promote our region’s history.

Pillars of Support

Pillars of Support

Regional leaders whose contributions are permanent gifts that build ETHS’s Endowment Fund and/or Capital Fund in support of its educational mission and public programming.


The East Tennessee Historical Society was established in 1834 as the East Tennessee Historical and Antiquarian Society.  The guiding spirit behind the founding was Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey, son of a pioneer family, the author of one of the state’s first histories, and also a founder of the Tennessee Historical Society. Since 1924, ETHS has been an adjunct to and headquartered with the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection of the Knox County Public Library. The two operate as a private/public partnership to preserve and share the history of East Tennessee.

The East Tennessee Historical Society’s Museum of East Tennessee History opened in 1993. The popularity of the museum, a growing artifact collection, and increased research audiences spurred an expansion of the East Tennessee History Center and generated a campaign for a new, first-class Museum of East Tennessee, which opened in 2008.