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Become part of history with a #Selfie on Museum Selfie Day

Museum Selfie Day started in 2014 as a way to encourage people to see and interact with their local museums, including those in East Tennessee.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Inside the East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street in Downtown Knoxville, visitors can find a lot of cool artifacts and information about the area's history.

They'll also find a lot of great places to take selfies.

"Some of my favorite selfie spots are by the Cadillac, I really liked the hillbilly section with Mountain Dew, and the Davy Crockett rifle. Taking a selfie with it is always welcome," said Warren Dockter, President and CEO of the East Tennessee Historical Society.

He said these hot spots are in honor of Museum Selfie Day, which is celebrated on January 19 each year.

"Museum Selfie Day started in 2014 after a blogger based in Britain went to visit the British Museum with her daughter," said Dockter. "She realized that people should start taking selfies at museums to help raise awareness about what museums do, and also just share history."

So Dockter and his team at the museum set to work doing just that.

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"This is a way to show that history is also fun and fun to learn," said Dockter. "And it just makes the experience I think more interactive and it makes people a part of the story, which I think is always fun."

They also have a whole exhibit looking into selfies of the past, which are better known as portrait paintings.

"We have a gallery on Samuel Shaver, who is one of the premier portrait artists of East Tennessee history," said Dockter. "We encourage our people to think about what it was like to have a 'selfie' in the 19th century. It would take weeks and weeks to paint the oil, you'd have to travel to an artist."

As technology changed, so did the way we capture our own images.

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"We'll see selfies starting to appear as museum items because they are artifacts, and that's also one of the fun things about taking a selfie, taking a picture of an artifact, is that you're creating an artifact that has your own personal spin on it," said Dockter.

The museum staff the recipe for the perfect selfie is good lighting, knowing your best angles, making a fun facial expression, and most importantly — having fun.

"Have a good time and remember it's all in good fun," said Dockter.

If you missed Museum Selfie Day, National Library "Shelfie" Day is on Wednesday, January 26.

The Samuel Shaver exhibit can be viewed at the East Tennessee History Museum through the end of January.

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