Drawing from public and private collections of vintage postcards, Adam H. Alfrey, curator of exhibits at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville, will present a program and will sign his book The Great Smoky Mountains National Park/Postcard History Series on December 22 at 2 pm at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.
This pictorial history boasts more than 200 vintage images and provides readers with a unique opportunity to reconnect with the history that shaped their community. For centuries, the majesty and mystery of the Great Smoky Mountains have lured mankind. The Cherokee were among the first to build thriving communities here, and backcountry frontiersmen were next to put down roots. In time visitors arrived eager to take in the cool mountain air and returned home with stories of “hillbillies.” Then, those who used the mountains for their own advantages came such as lumber barons, armed with steam shovels and skidders.
Eventually, civic boosters from Western North Carolina and East Tennessee took note and began advocating for the protection of the Great Smoky Mountains. Before a national park could be established, though, there were competing interests to be sorted and a consideration of the lives affected.
Highlights of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park/Postcard History Series include the region’s photographers and the role their images played in the campaign to establish the national park and subsequently in attracting visitors to the mountains. About 200 rare postcards will illustrate how a rallying cry for preservation, pleasure and profit sustained a campaign to create the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most visited national park in the United States.
Following Alfrey’s program, the audience can meet the author and purchase his book in the AMSE lobby, where he will do a book signing. There is no charge to attend Alfrey’s program in the AMSE auditorium or the book signing in the museum lobby.
The American Museum of Science and Energy, located at 300 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge, is open Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday 1 – 5 pm. AMSE will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Museum admission is Adults $5, Seniors (65+) $4, Students (6 – 17) $3 and Children (5 and under) are free. AMSE members are free. Group rates are available for 20 or more with advance reservations. AMSE memberships, good for 12 months from purchase date, are Family $40, Grandparents $35, Individuals $25 and Family & Friends $75. AMSE members receive unlimited AMSE visits and free admission to 250 museums that participate in the ASTC Passport Program. AMSE members also receive discounts on Discovery Shop merchandise, discounts on classes, workshops, camps and birthday parties. For more information on AMSE memberships, exhibits, programs and events, click www.amse.org To schedule a group visit, call AMSE at (865) 576-3200.