NORRIS, Tenn.: Museum of Appalachia, a Smithsonian Affiliate, visitors will celebrate July 4 with an explosion of sound that pioneers heard thunder through the hills when they celebrated Independence Day.
Anvil shooting used to be a common way that rural folks celebrated special events. They "shot the anvil" to celebrate the nation’s Independence, Christmas, and even Davy Crockett’s election to the U.S. Congress. Some years ago, two men, each more than 100 years old, watched the Museum’s anvil shoot and recalled this tradition from their early boyhood.
Now, shooting the anvil has come to be the highlight of the Museum's annual July 4 Celebration. Folks as far as 15 miles away have reported hearing the blast, and certainly everyone gathered for the excitement feels the earth shake under their feet.
Along with the big boom several times during the day, there will be patriotic ceremonies including a flag waving procession, Longhunter camp stories, Appalachian music and historic demonstrations.
A bell-ringing ceremony will occur at precisely 2 p.m., coinciding with the National Bell Ringing Ceremony when more than 10,000 bells across the country are rung in unison. Thirteen youngsters will be selected from the audience to ring the bell in honor of the thirteen original states.
The Liberty Pole raising at 2:15 p.m. will commemorate a Colonial American practice signifying dissatisfaction with the English government. It illustrates the spirit of liberty among colonists in the early days of the War for Independence.
Wander the Museum’s Village and see demonstrations of “Betsy Ross” sewing our nation’s first flag, clogging, spinning, blacksmithing, woodcarving, mountain dulcimer making, sassafras tea brewing and cedar rail splitting.
Tasty summertime treats will be available, including grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, homemade ice cream, cakes, pies and cookies.
The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with special July 4th activities from 10 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The extensive village-farm complex includes dozens of historic log structures, display buildings filled with authentic Appalachian artifacts, gardens surrounded by split rail fences, and farm animals in a traditional setting. The Hall of Fame offers a portrait of the Appalachian people, both famous and not-so-famous—and these exhibits may be enjoyed in air-conditioned comfort.
Admission is charged; it’s free for Museum members. Memberships provide a year of Museum visits. As an official affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum provides Smithsonian memberships in conjunction with its own membership program.
A large gift shop features handiwork from regional artisans, and the restaurant offers Appalachian foods, fresh‐from‐the‐garden vegetables, and mouth‐watering home-style desserts. Facilities are available for weddings, reunions, meetings, and other events.
The Museum is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to preserve Appalachian artifacts and to instill in the community—regionally, nationally, and internationally—a greater knowledge of and appreciation for the Appalachian heritage.
The Museum is located 16 miles north of Knoxville, one mile east of I-75, exit 122. For more information, call 865-494-7680, or visit www.museumofappalachia.org.
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