Yearly Archives: 2014

Learning the Curve: The Artistry of Matt Moulthrop

The life of a tree is influenced by the world around it; growth rings tell the story. Within the first few years of life, a tree may experience severe drought or an overabundance of rain. Each of these events is recorded within the tree. Drought and disease, flooding and lack of sunlight, major weather events – all leave evidence behind in the form of ring spacing and coloration. Hidden in plain sight is the accurately recorded history of mankind all around us in the trees.

An example of this can be seen in this new exhibition with the display of both an American chestnut cup and a large redbay globe. Each of these tree species has an interesting and diverse history. The American chestnut tree is virtually extinct in our region due to a blight which causes a bark fungus. The introduction of an Asian chestnut tree brought this fungus to the United States. This species no longer exists widely in nature, and yet on display is an example of the story of a chestnut tree.

The redbay globe is a second example of a species on the verge of extinction. Growing along the borders of swampy lands in the South, redbay trees are being scoured by the introduction of a beetle which carries a different type of fungus. The size of the globe on display is potentially the largest that will ever be seen.


Road Trip to the Secret City

Visiting Oak Ridge provided a sense of scale and sense of place unlike anything I’ve read about the Manhattan Project. The Project itself was a massive endeavor, but the physical place itself is on such a large scale it cannot be truly understood unless in person.

The distance between each of the three primary sites — Y-12, X-10, and K-25 — are the equivalent of the distance between small towns in my home state of Indiana. The commute for workers from the townsite to each plant is farther than my commute to work today. Through experiencing these sites firsthand, we can better grasp the monumental scale of the Manhattan Project through its extraordinary impact on our built heritage.


Advertising Art Made in Coshocton

During this first decade of the 20th century, Coshocton boasted of having more artist residents than any other city in the U.S. save New York City. But, by 1912 the artist colony that had been established in the city since about 1890 dissolved. There was never been a definitive explanation for the departure of artists during this short two-year period, however technological advances in the use of photographic equipment may well have reduced the need for their services.

Meek and Beach were so successful from the start that several rival companies were formed, eventually growing into twelve companies with, combined, over five-hundred years of business experience, that shipped finished products worldwide.

Nearly every family in Coshocton had a relative working in one of the plants. The economic depressions of 1891 and 1911 were virtually non-existent in Coshocton and the companies carried the city through the depression in 1929. The advertising companies of Coshocton became world leaders in this industry much the same as Bucyrus and Marion became world leaders in road building equipment, Akron in rubber products and tires, and Toledo in glass.


Listen Here: Appalachian History Weekly podcast posts today

We post a new episode of Appalachian History weekly podcast every Sunday. Check us out on the Stitcher network, available on mobile phones, in-car dashboards and tablets worldwide. Just click below to start listening: This special edition of Appalachian History Weekly focuses on the life and music of West Virginia folk legend Aunt Jennie Wilson. […]


Framing History: The Art of Blount Mansion

In the years since we became a museum in 1926 we have collected many great works of art along with all of the furniture and other items. So we have taken the time to select some of the best of what we have to best represent our collection and are now displaying them for the enjoyment of our visitors and guests.

The majority of the exhibit is portraits. Given the number of famous people associated with the site we have some great ones to share. There are copies of both William and Willie Blount’s official Governors portraits done by Tennessee artist Sarah Ward Conley. Another is a striking portrait of General Washington’s Chief of Artillery during the Revolution, General Henry Knox. He was Secretary of War in the 1790’s and Governor Blount’s boss. He is also the man whom Knoxville is named for.

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