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New exhibit now open, RV resort under construction at Museum of Appalachia

A new exhibit at the Museum of Appalachia shows what life was like during TVA's construction of Norris Dam. And soon, you'll be able to spend a night at the museum.

CLINTON, Tenn. — Lots of new things are coming to the Musuem of Appalachia in Clinton, from a brand new exhibit you can visit right now to a new RV and camping resort coming next summer.

Museum President Elaine Meyer said it's not often the museum adds new exhibits.

That's part of why there's so much excitement behind "The Mountaineers Sacrifice and Renewal."

"TVA funded us the money to start an exhibit to tell a little bit about TVA, how it was started and how it impacted the people of the area," said Meyer. "So that's what we do best is talk about the people and how the area was impacted. So that's kind of what we've done."

An interactive map lights up in different places as it explains which towns, schools, churches and cemeteries were all moved to make way for the changes that would come with Norris Dam.

"People can actually go up to the map and see their family's name. So it's very cool, you can go up and see how much land your family had, where the property was, whether the the water took the property or not," said Meyer.

We’re so excited about our new exhibit, “The Mountaineers’ Sacrifice and Renewal.” We had a fantastic grand opening, and can’t wait for you to stop by and see it!

Posted by Museum of Appalachia on Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Around this map are photos of construction of the dam and photos of what life was like before it was built.

Two structures that were removed before the area was flooded now reside at the museum. One is restored for people to see what life was like in rural East Tennessee before electricity.

Meyer plans to extend the exhibit to show how life changed after TVA.

"We hope to raise the money to have phase two which will show what it was like after TVA came in and the great impact it had on the families, and what it was like after they received electricity and how it really changed their lives," said Meyer. "So we're hoping to do that in the next few years."

Sooner than that, you'll be able to spend a night at the museum.

Ground is already turning on the new Appalachia Ridge RV resort and campground.

"That's the number one question we are asked is, can we spend the night there? So not only are they going to have RV pads, but we're also going to have glamping tents, we're going to have tiny homes, and then we're also going to have tree houses up in the woods," said Meyer.

She said they're working with a few companies from Sevier County who specialize in all these types of camping.

That new section of the museum is set to open for camping in July 2022.

"There's an area down by the creek that we're going to clean up and have for concerts," said Meyer. "So you can look forward to that."

The Museum of Appalachia is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.