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Museum of Appalachia unveiling newly restored Arnwine Cabin as part of new exhibit

The unveiling of the new exhibit will take place November 10.

NORRIS, Tenn. — The Museum of Appalachia will soon unveil a new exhibit after restoring the historic Arnwine Cabin on its campus in Norris.

The museum said the unveiling will take place on November 10 after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 9 at 5 p.m.

The new exhibit is titled "The Mountaineers' Sacrifice & Renewal," and will highlight the history behind the construction of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Norris Dam that forced people from the region to relocate. 

The exhibit will feature historic photographs from the era and an animated map of the region before-and-after construction -- highlighting the locations of homes, farms churches and schools that now sit at the bottom of Norris Lake.

The Arnwine Cabin was built in the early 1800s and originally stood along the banks of the Clinch River in Liberty Hill -- and was a prime example of early Appalachian life before the federal government established the TVA under the New Deal. Its first major project was the construction of the Norris Dam to provide flood control and electric power to the region. However, that ambitious modernization project saw many East Tennesseans displaced from their homes -- as the federal government empowered TVA to use eminent domain to seize land to facilitate construction of the dam.

Generations of the Arnwine family had lived in the little log cabin for more than 100 years, but were forced to deconstruct it and relocate it after the TVA acquired their land. In 1936, one of the last known inhabitants died -- and it sat dormant for decades until historian and Museum of Appalachia founder John Rice Irwin acquired it in 1964. 

“This exhibit is a testament to the diligent and industrious people that built this incredible dam, and also to the sacrifice of a people who left their lives behind for the promise of progress,” said Museum President Elaine Meyer. “We’re elated to be able to share this story with visitors from around the world.”

The museum is located at 2819 Andersonville Highway in Clinton, and is open from 9 am to 5 p.m. daily. 

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