Heritage Circle

East Tennessee is a land of mountains and valleys, towns and farms, and a way of life made special by a lingering sense of history and heritage. For almost two centuries, the East Tennessee Historical Society has worked to preserve this history, to share it with resident and visitors, and to pass it forward as a gift to the future.

The Heritage Circle of Leadership Giving

Founded in 1834, ETHS has for 184 years encouraged the collection and preservation of the stories, artifacts, photographs, diaries, letters, and official records that document the individual lives and shared history of East Tennesseans.

ETHS is one of the most active regional historical organizations in the Southeast, and we fulfill our mission to “preserve, interpret, and promote the history of Tennessee, focusing on East Tennessee” through a variety of programs, such as a lecture series, student education, teacher workshops, and free genealogy classes.

ETHS by the numbers:

  • 35 counties covered
  • 49 affiliate chapters
  • Since 2008
    566,400 total reached through visitation to the Museum of East Tennessee History outreach programs
    67,573 students engaged through museum visits and ETHS outreach
    6,956 teachers led in professional development workshops

These programs are largely made possible with the support of our donors.

To honor and celebrate major annual gift donors, ETHS established the Heritage Circle of Giving, recognizing those contributing annual leadership gifts of $1,000 or more. This core group of annual leadership donors empowers ETHS to fulfill its education mission with yearly gifts and makes this work possible.

We invite you to join in these important efforts and help ETHS in its mission to preserve an understanding of and appreciation for the region’s history. Your support will help us reach additional teachers, schools, and students across our region and beyond; bring more quality programming to the region; and impact more lives by fostering a love for history.

Heritage Circle of Giving members enjoy special added benefits in addition to the general package of ETHS membership benefits:

  • Invitations to special preview and “behind-the-scenes” events
  • Advice and counsel on genealogy and family artifact preservation
  • Free museum admission tickets to share with family and friends
  • Time Travelers membership – a reciprocal membership network for historical museums and societies in the U.S.
  • Special recognition on the ETHS website and in publications
  • The satisfaction of knowing that through your support, you are impacting future generations

For more information or to join the Heritage Circle of Giving, please contact Gay Lyons in our development office at (865) 215-8827 or at [email protected].

Learn More about
The Heritage Circle of Giving


Additional ETHS Leadership Giving Programs

Legacy Business Partners

Legacy businesses are long-standing community cornerstones that provide important services, host gathering spaces, foster connection, create memories, and nourish our sense of community.

The 1834 Society of Leadership Giving

A group of special donors who have made a multi-year commitment that results in a minimum cumulative gift of $25,000. Learn more the 1834 Society.