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Folklife Museum to close for renovations

Farragut Folklife Museum director Julia Jones-Barham is looking to bring the Town’s historical and cultural centerpiece, the Museum, into the 21st Century ... just in time for Civil War sesquicentennial celebrations that begin next year.

And doing all of that will require a nearly two-month closure.

Farragut Folklife Museum, housed in Town Hall, will close Dec. 19 for renovations and refreshing, and will reopen the night of Feb. 2 with a ribbon-cutting, informative dialogue from some of the area’s historians and other festivities.

“I think it’s going to be better as a whole,” Jones-Barham said of the upcoming changes in the Museum.

Renovations will include replacing the flooring throughout the Museum and the gift shop and painting the walls and display cases.

But Jones-Barham also plans significant changes to the layout of the Museum, which is divided into three galleries, and the displays in each.

“The first gallery is really where most of the work is going to be happening,” Jones-Barham said.

The first gallery largely will be dedicated to the history of Concord.

One of the biggest changes in the first gallery will be the installation of a platform that will house a changing vignette, most likely starting with an “early 1900s sitting room” scene, Jones-Barham said.

“It’s going to be a raised platform that we’re going to use for different settings in the future,” she added.

The second gallery will remain dedicated to Adm. James David Glasgow Farragut, but will be freshened up.

All of the Civil War and Battle of Campbell Station artifacts will be moved to the third gallery.

“So we’re keeping some of the old stuff and putting some of new stuff in and moving things around,” Jones-Barham said.

“The displays themselves, in the cases, will totally change. In essentials, the same information will be presented, but we’ll be presenting it in a different way — a little bit more interpretive and in a logical timeline, starting with the settlement of the area,” she added.

The revamped Museum also will feature new technologies, including a push-button video display that will give visitors the option of viewing two short videos on the historic homes of Old Concord.

“That will get us into the 21st Century. I think it will be good and get us updated, getting more technology in there, which everyone is seeing in museums everywhere these days,” Jones-Barham said.

The night of Feb. 2, the Museum will reopen with a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m., then be open for tours until 8 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., several local residents and history buffs will share a dialogue of the varied history of the area from the settlement of Concord to the Battle of Campbell’s Station to the effect of TVA dams.

Speakers will include Barbara Beeler, Mona Smith, Malcolm Shell, Bob Linsell, Lou LaMarche and Frank Galbraith.

“They’re just going to talk back and forth about the history of the area,” Jones-Barham said, accompanied with photographs and images via a Powerpoint presentation.

Farragut Folklife Museum’s committee has saved money for years, Jones-Barham said, and much of the renovation budget is coming from those savings.


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