“This museum and research station represents a big win for Tennessee archaeology”

JAMESTOWN – Pickett CCC Memorial State Park is home to a new archaeological museum and research station for students from East Tennessee State University.

Officials last week unveiled the new facility, a working museum that will display artifacts unearthed on-site from the park, Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area and surrounding areas. It opened Saturday, April 15.

“This addition to the park enhances the interactive local history programs Tennessee State Parks offers,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said in a release. “Through partnership like this one with ETSU, TDEC is able to make historical tourism and archaeological studies a reality for more Tennesseans.”

The museum boasts archaeological artifacts from 400 to up to 13,000 years ago. An active site excavation is located within a mile from the city. Evidence at the site dates back to the Upper Cumberland Plateau area’s first inhabitants up to 12,500 years ago.

Officials in April celebrated the grand opening of an archaeology museum and research station at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park.

“This museum and research station represents a big win for Tennessee archaeology,” said Michael Moore, state archaeologist and TDEC director of the Division of Archaeology. “All of us within TDEC are excited for the future archaeological research that will happen at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park and adjacent areas of the Cumberland Plateau.”

In the same facility as the museum, a team of ETSU Anthropology undergraduate students will live and conduct research at the facility on a regular basis year-round. Undergraduate students Lauren Woelkers and Reagan Cornett assisted with the writing and design of the museum exhibits.

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“This museum represents community in a number of ways,” said ETSU Professor Jay Franklin. “From the interest and support of Fentress and Pickett counties to the unique relationship between Tennessee State Parks and ETSU, the museum is a ‘work in progress,’ and we hope it remains so. Knowledge about the past changes every day with new discoveries and this museum reflects that. We hope the public continues to visit often to see what’s new here.”

Pickett State Park, located in a remote area northeast of Jamestown, sits within the 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest and is adjacent to Big South Fork. In 1933, the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company donated nearly 12,000 acres of land to the state of Tennessee to be developed as a forest recreational area. Initial development of the area by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) occurred between 1934 through 1942. The CCC constructed hiking trails, five rustic cabins, a recreation lodge, a ranger station and a 12-acre lake. The park memorializes and preserves the unique work of the CCC who first developed it. For more information, visit http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/pickett.

The facility opening coincides with Tennessee State Parks’ 80th anniversary.