JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. –The Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University was the recipient of two Tennessee Association of Museums Awards of Excellence at the recent TAM conference.
The TAM awards were presented to museums across the state for exceptional projects, programs and events held in 2021. The Awards Ceremony took place in Jonesborough at the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School on March 16. The Reece Museum received a Temporary Exhibit Award of Excellence for the “Illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy” exhibition and a Special Event Award of Excellence for “Hip-Hop History: A Cultural Celebration event series.”
“Illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy” celebrated the 700thanniversary of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy.” The exhibition, curated by Reece Museum staff and ETSU’s Dr. Joshua Reid, invited viewers to travel from Hell to Paradise via the poem’s rich visual arts tradition, featuring framed Salvador Dali original woodblock illustrations from the Reece Museum permanent collection. The exhibit also featured works from Reid’s personal collection by Botticelli, Blake, Dore and others, along with contemporary visual interpretations made by the campus community. The physical exhibit was supplemented with a virtual catalogue of all 100 Dali prints, placed online for the duration of the exhibition and can be viewed here:issuu.com/easttnstate/docs/dali.divine.comedy.catalog.final.sm.
“Hip-Hop History: A Cultural Celebration” was an event series produced by the Reece Museum and theBlack American Studies Programthat explored hip-hop culture as a connective space that encourages an inclusive and holistic view of what it means to practice Appalachian culture. Dr. Daryl Carter, director of the Black American Studies Program at ETSU, wanted to build an event series that marked the historically significant passage of Senate Resolution 331. Based on the language in the resolution that recognized the “melting pot quality of hip-hop art and culture,” museum staff saw an opportunity to explore the art form as it manifested in East Tennessee and worked with a variety of community partners to create this first annual event series.
“This year we presented 82 awards, representing 28 museums, including three awards recognizing Emerging Museum Professionals, one award recognizing outstanding volunteerism and our overall winner of the Past President’s Award, chosen by the past presidents of TAM, which this year was presented to two museums,” said Tori Mason, historic site manager at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, who serves as the chair of the TAM Awards Committee. “Once again, Tennessee museums showed their creativity, resourcefulness and ability to adapt to the times, while providing outstanding programs and opportunities for their audiences. Our state is fortunate to have so many excellent museums and historic sites that are committed to providing exceptional exhibitions, events and educational programming for visitors to enjoy.”
The Reece Museum, housed in theDepartment of Appalachian Studiesat ETSU, is a unit of the Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services. The Reece Museum is located on the campus of ETSU and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visitetsu.edu/reeceor call (423) 439-4392.