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Reece, Carter Railroad museums to celebrate preservation with day of children’s activities, showings of Tweetsie Railroad footage

Contact: Jennifer L. Hill/tb April 26, 2010
Reece, Carter Railroad museums to celebrate preservation with day of children’s activities, showings of Tweetsie Railroad footage
JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum and George L. Carter Railroad Museum, in collaboration with the Archives of Appalachia at ETSU, will celebrate National Preservation Month (May) with a day of children’s activities, as well as two showings of Tweetsie Railroad footage, on Saturday, May 1.
Both museums will be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
At the Reece Museum, children ages 3-10 will have the opportunity to make cornhusk dolls, explore their artistic side and participate in 18th century games on the grounds. Indoors, they may play with Lincoln Logs and design their own quilts in the “Kid’s Corner.” These children’s activities are free.
The Tweetsie Railroad footage includes three films from Appalachian State University and one from ETSU. These films, which will be shown at both 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., include:
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“Going Places: The Tennessee Tweetsie,” a segment from a 1939 entry in Universal Studios’ “Going Places” series of shorts. This documentary about the Tennessee Tweetsie narrow gauge train was shot in Johnson City and follows the train along its route into the Doe River Gorge.
“Tweetsie Railroad Theme Park,” which was produced by WBT television in Charlotte, N.C., in the late 1950s, celebrated cowboy personality Fred Kirby’s birthday and shows the first attack of the train by the cast from “The Horn in the West.” The film features the attractions and festivities at the Tweetsie Railroad theme park in Blowing Rock, N.C., where Kirby’s programs were hosted every weekend.
“Tweetsie Excursion to Boone, N.C.,” which contains footage of a late-1930s narrow gauge train ride between Johnson City and Boone.
“Rediscovered Images of Tweetsie, 1940-1951,” a program of 8mm home movie footage shot by early railroad enthusiasts Vincent Ryan and Jack Alexander. The color film documents the Tweetsie’s travels through Johnson City, Hampton, Elizabethton, the Doe River Gorge, and other locations along the narrow gauge line. This one-of-a-kind collection of film includes World War II-era footage, the employees of the ET&WNC, and the train’s final run in 1950.
Limited seating is available for the railroad films. Patrons are asked to call and reserve their tickets by Friday, April 30, to ensure seats. A $3 donation per seat is payable upon arrival, and proceeds will be divided among the Archives of Appalachia and the Reece Museum, divisions of ETSU’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, as well as the Carter Railroad Museum.
In addition to the activities at the Reece Museum, patrons may head over to the Carter Railroad Museum in the Campus Center Building, where they may view three operating model railroad layouts and displays of historical and modern railroad items. Children may visit the museum’s Little Engineer’s play room, which features Thomas-the-Tank educational railroad toys. Admission is free.
For more information, film showing ticket reservations, or special assistance for those with disabilities, call the Reece Museum at (423) 439-4392 or Dr. Fred Alsop, director of the Carter Railroad Museum, at (423) 439-6838.
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