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Native American artifacts highlighted at traveling museum

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:24:55 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 15 2013 03:55:45 PM CDT

A traveling Smithsonian exhibit gives ETSU's Reece Museum a chance to showcase their Native American collection.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

When you move, sometimes you discover things you may have forgotten you had or even find new items. That's what happened when ETSU's Reece Museum moved all of their collections for a recent renovation.

The galleries of East Tennessee State University's Reece Museum highlight lots of art and history. Soon, a rather unusual exhibit from the Smithsonian will grace one of those galleries. It's a look at early interracial cultures between African Americans and Native Americans.

"There were a lot of interpersonal relationships between white settlers and Native Americans, and then there was the slave population that inter-married into those cultures as well. We still have pockets of people in communities that still have that heritage," museum director Theresa Hammonds says.

The exhibit gives the Reece a chance to highlight one of their collections that have been stored away in boxes during renovations. "The Native American pieces in our collection, most of those consist of pieces of pottery and stone implements. But we also have some beautiful whole pieces of pottery, some beautiful baskets as well," Hammonds said.

But some of those pieces that will be displayed date back quite a way. "A few of the pieces we have date back to 12,000 years ago, and we have contemporary pieces. We have pottery and baskets that were purchased in the 1950s," she said.

The museum is using the exhibit of their collection as a fundraiser with a look at behind the scenes of the Reece on Friday November 8.