The Knoxville History Project will convey the history and culture of Knoxville as the essential foundation for understanding the present and creating the future of the city, while nurturing an appreciation for its place in American history.
As defined in the organization’s name, "history" will embrace the city's culture from the 1700s to the recent past so that its authentic and fascinating heritage can inform and enliven its future. Research and education concerning literature, architecture, music, and other arts will all be an important part of the organization’s mandate.
The organization will tell the complex story of Knoxville, but will also be an independent source of context about the city and its culture as it is today.
It will exist to serve the community, but also it will offer services to interested visitors, whether tourists, travel journalists, or scholars.
Our newspaper project, The Knoxville Mercury, will serve the mission of the Knoxville History Project by reporting about the city’s present and engaging residents in a thoughtful and informed dialogue about its future. Professional, in-depth reporting and arts coverage will include the historical and cultural context required to create and sustain a 21st century city rooted in its authentic past.
Knoxville’s history is deep and diverse, and intimately associated with much of American history. It’s associated with the development of several major political and cultural institutions, including Victorian domestic architecture, objective journalism, the Republican Party, conservationism and environmentalism, bluegrass music, Southern Gothic literature, and several branches of heavy industry. It’s the birthplace of Tennessee, and of the University of Tennessee. However, Knoxville is off the radar of much of the nation’s official history and popular discussion, often ignored in documentaries that emphasize the history of less-significant cities. To some extent, Knoxville has been overshadowed in the national media by large projects and institutions in its greater region, resulting in the fact that many Americans seem wholly unaware of the city’s existence.
Meanwhile, Knoxville’s downtown revival has demonstrated an interest and demand for more history of the city, as it involves historic buildings and deliberate evocations of the city’s history through décor and nomenclature.
Few cities Knoxville’s size lack an organization to promote the city’s own history. Knoxville is lucky to be home of the East Tennessee Historical Society, but both the society and its museum, reflecting its broad-based membership has a mandate to represent 35 counties. The McClung Historical Collection is a county-funded regional repository of information heavily used for genealogical research. Knox Heritage is a county-wide organization devoted to preserving historic buildings and other sites.
Several other worthwhile cultural groups have more specific mandates. The Knoxville History Project will fill a gap between these organizations, and cooperate with them.
The Knoxville History Project will concentrate on the distinct story of the city of Knoxville itself, and will promote the city and its own particular history and culture, from the 1700s until recent times.
A 501©(3) organization, the KHP will:
- provide speakers for elementary school, middle school, high school, and college classes
- consult with architects, developers, and government organizations on current projects
- help local arts and history organizations with research and context
- serve as an authority and facilitator for historians and biographers and travel journalists
- advocate for Knoxville’s inclusion in national historical and cultural projects
- coordinate historical tours of all kinds for student groups, tour groups, and others
- produce books, brochures, and other publications on the subject of Knoxville and its history and culture, past and present
- coordinate a website and online applications for conveying the city’s story
The Knoxville History Project conveys the history and culture of Knoxville as the foundation for understanding its present and creating its future.
The Knoxville History Project, will convey the history and culture of Knoxville as the essential foundation for understanding the present and creating the future of the city, while nurturing an appreciation for its place in American history.
Please join us at the Historic Adminstration Building at Lakeshore Park for the first in a series of lunchtime history talks with Jack Neely, renowned author and...