History Hootenanny

A Celebration of the East Tennessee History Center
East Tennessee History Center
Saturday, August 19, 2023 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

What is a hootenanny

Hootenanny (n.): 1. An informal gathering where folk music is played in a party-like atmosphere (1950-60s) 2. An Appalachian colloquialism used as a placeholder name to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown (1930s. See doohickey, thingamajig, whatchamacallit) 3. A variation of the Scottish Gaelic word for New Year’s celebrations (15th century Gaelic. See Hogmanay)  

In partnership with the Knox County Public Library's Clarence Brown Film Festival, the East Tennessee Historical Society announces the 2nd annual History Hootenanny, a celebration of East Tennessee history. History Hootenanny showcases the best of the East Tennessee History Center and partners at this open house. Guests can enjoy live music, children’s activities, a used local history book sale, walking tours, shuttles to the Historic House Museums of Knoxville, genealogy workshops, and more! History Hootenanny is a free, public history event organized in partnership by the East Tennessee Historical Society and Knox County Public Library. 


Throughout the Day

  • Exhibition: Voices of the Land
  • Feature Exhibition: Lights! Camera! East Tennessee!
  • Film-related children’s activities (History Headquarters) 
  • ETHS Affiliate Booths (Auditorium)
  • Friends of the Library Book Sale (Auditorium)
  • 10:00-4:00 Shuttles to Historic House Museums (leaves from Gay St)
    • Route #1 – Blount Mansion, James White’s Fort, Mabry-Hazen House
    • Route #2 – Historic Westwood, Crescent Bend House & Gardens
    • Last bus leaves ETHC at 3:15 pm
  • 10:00-2:00 Find Your Leaf on Family Search’s GIGANTIC Family Tree (McClung)

Timed Events

  • 9:30 “This is TAMIS” (McClung classroom)
  • 10:00 Story time (History Headquarters)
  • 10:00 Walking Tour: “Knoxville Goes to the Movies” w/Laura Still (ETHC Porch) ~1.5hrs
    • From the early days of the kinetoscope to the glory days of the motion picture palace, Knoxville has always loved the movies. Join Laura Still of Knoxville Walking Tours on a stroll and hear stories of theaters, film locations, red carpet premieres, and a whole constellation of stars, from director Clarence Brown to Quentin Tarantino. 
  • 11:00 Open House/Self-guided tours (Tennessee Theatre)
  • 11:00 ETHC Tour (begins in McClung)
  • 11:00 Lawnmower Bluegrass Band (ETHC) - 1 hour
  • 12:00 Story Time (History Headquarters)
  • 12:00 The Yearling (Tennessee Theatre) Clarence Brown Film Festival
  • 12:00 Walking Tour: A Conservation Centennial Hike w/Jack Neely (ETHC Porch) ~1.5hrs
    • In the 1920s and '30s, conservationists with offices, meeting places, and, in a few cases, residences, in downtown Knoxville played a major role in making the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a reality. The effort started in late 1923, and the years that followed included key meetings involving colorful and disparate personalities, and at least one painful fistfight. Their ideals went beyond the Smokies, as several of these early hikers went on to found, in 1937, the national Wilderness Society. Jack Neely will offer a different sort of wilderness hike without leaving downtown. 
  • 1:00 Beginning Genealogy (McClung classroom) – 3 hours
  • 1:00 Lawnmower Bluegrass Band (ETHS) - 1 hour
  • 2:00 Story Time (History Headquarters)
  • 3:00 Open House/Self-guided tours (Tennessee Theatre)
  • 4:00 Anna Karenina (Tennessee Theatre) Clarence Brown Film Festival
  • 8:00 The Signal Tower (Tennessee Theatre) Clarence Brown Film Festival

Children's Activities

At a Glance

  • History HQ will open at 9am
  • The Yearling will show at the Tennessee Theater at 1pm
  • Story times will happen at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm 

in History Headquarters

  • Be the Director: Make your own stop motion film
  • Act it Out: put on a puppet show at the Story Forest
  • Claymation Creation: create claymation characters out of Model Magic
  • Behind the Scenes: Practice your costume, hair, and make-up design skills.
  • Film-themed story time at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm (appropriate for a preschool audience)

in the Gallery

  • tour the gallery with our History Detectives booklets (not movie specific)



Presenting Sponsor: 
Knox County Public Library
Clarence Brown Film Festival
US Bank
Downtown Knoxville Alliance
Friends of the Knox County Public Library
Historic House Museums of Knoxville
Knoxville History Project
University of Tennessee Department of History
Knoxville Walking Tours