Some traditions are as old as the hills themselves, so it seems. The Museum of Appalachia (Google map) is only a short drive from Knoxville and it specializes in all things old and Appalachian. One of those uniquely old and Appalachian customs is The Anvil Shoot.
The Anvil Shoot was a mountain tradition for holidays and other special occasions. In this ancient ritual, an anvil was launched heavenward by a charge of black gunpowder for the amusement of young and old alike. It was an early American form of mountain fireworks. The oddity of it made it a perfect attraction for the Museum of Appalachia The problem was, when the museum staff began trying to figure out how to recreate it, no one was alive to explain exactly how it was done. So the process had to be reconstructed by experimenting with the setup and explosives. The event in the video is an annual recreation which takes place on the 4th of July at the museum. It is one of the many attractions those with a romantic love for rural mountain culture can enjoy.
Aside from the July 4th Celebration and Anvil Shoot, other major special events include the Tennessee Fall Homecoming, the Days of the Pioneer, and Christmas in Old Appalachia. The museum also has Student Heritage Day, which is an event held in October. Students can experience life as it was through hands-on activities. Washing clothes, period costumes, pottery making, clogging, and lessons on the guitar, banjo, fiddle or other instruments are among the educational features.
The museum has a restaurant where old-style cooking is done. There are plenty of rustic buildings to explore, lots of displays, and the museum even has a perpetual motion machine. Strange, but true. Many other events and services are available at the museum, such as rentals for parties, reunions, and weddings.
Open every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving, the museum is an easy visit to schedule. The hours will vary depending upon the season so check the website for the most recent schedule and for a list of all the events. Or call (865) 494-7680 or e-mail [email protected] to find out more.
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