The Appalachian Mountains are the oldest mountains on planet earth. And today it’s a place filled with history and culture that is world famous. We’re exploring a place that is dedicated to that history, and taking a look at the amazing art and artifacts on display. Welcome to the Reece Museum.
Located on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, The Reece Museum currently houses approximately 22,000 artifacts that tell the story of Appalachia at a regional, local, and global level. The artifacts in the Reece Permanent Collection represent a broad and eclectic range of both fine art and historically significant items, which the museum continues to collect.
The galleries here change out over time, which means you rarely step into the same Reece Museum twice. Today we’re exploring areas on display in the summer of 2023. But if you happen to catch this episode at a later date – don’t worry – amazing artifacts are always on display at the Reece.
We’re getting started entering An Exuberant Spirit: The Sammie L. Nicely Collection. Samuel Louis Nicely was an artist and educator who embraced his cultural heritage as an African American man from Appalachia.
In 2020, fifty works from Nicely’s personal collection were bequeathed to the Reece Museum, and since then the special collection has grown to include 138 works that represent a variety of media and forms.
Up next, we’re heading out of this world and over to Reece Galaxy: Art in Space. This installation was created by students who came for a one-week Teen Renaissance Camp, and they created this outer space inspired art installation.
This exhibit is a great example of how this is a living center for education and exploration – not just a collection of rooms, art, and artifacts.
In fact, the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services is housed here, with the mission to promote a deeper understanding of Appalachia and to serve the region through research, education, preservation, and community engagement.
Definitely a museum and a mission worth supporting. So head to Johnson City and ETSU and check out The Reece Museum.