Our Tennessee museums and dramatic performances encourage you to take a step back in time as you walk in the footsteps of the frontier people who settled Johnson County. The tenacity, determination and strength of these families will inspire you, when you experience their stories firsthand through fascinating interactive exhibits, performances and reenactments.
The Butler Museum
The Butler Museum tells the story of “the town that wouldn’t drown” even though the original town of Butler, TN is now 300’ below the level of Watauga Lake. Open Saturday and Sunday afternoons and by appointment other times (call Anna Dugger at 423-768-2432), this is not your dry dull museum. Here you will walk down Main Street, stopping to admire the goods in the General Store, read the poster advertising a "real live baby for sale," see Kyle Stout’s barber shop and much more.
This Memorial Day Weekend May 26, 27, 2007 during the Watauga Lake Experience event (www.wataugalakeexperience.com) there will be special Tours of Old Butler! Tour the Museum and then take a tour OVER Old Butler with Capt. Wally in his boat the Toy Box as he points out where the town once thrived.
Rocky Mount Living History Museum
Come experience daily life of a frontier family in 1791. Throughout the year, various activities associated with life on the frontier are carried out at Rocky Mount. Sheep shearing, candle making, quilt making and other chores are demonstrated.
Overmountain Victory Trail Association
Each year since 1975, the OVTA has sponsored a “march on the route of the campaign to King’s Mountain. As much as possible, we walk the original route and camp in the same campsites. While the reenactment is NOT a primitive backpacking experience, but rather, a combination of trail and road walking along with car camping, it provides a great opportunity to relive one of the important moments in America’s history. As we move down the trail, we reenact the historical events that occurred during the original campaign. We give programs to school children and conduct historical sketches for community groups showing what happened on that very spot in 1780. The reenactment is open to everyone. However, to participate in the reenactments and historical sketches, period dress is required.
The Wataugans Outdoor Drama
For the last three weekends in July, Sycamore Shoals is the site of the official Tennessee Outdoor Drama, "The Wataugans." Telling the story of those brave pioneers who settled these mountains, creating homes, raising families and clearing the land all the while watching out for marauding Indians and then the British before the first government in the colonies was established. Come and experience the excitement and drama of life in the wilderness.
Throughout the year there are various exhibits at Sycamore Shoals and there is a short movie about the OverMountain Men who gathered here to plan the attack on Kings Mountain, a decisive battle of the Revolutionary War.
Our newest museum is the Grey Fossil Site. Here you will find dinosaur bones excavated when the state was building a new road. ETSU has taken over the site and now visitors can participate in digging for bones, enjoy the various exhibits (now through September is, "The Scoop on Poop").
Your home away from home at the Iron Mountain Inn Bed and Breakfast, the Cottage on Watauga Lake or the Creekside Chalet is the perfect place to use as headquarters for exploring the hundreds of years of history in northeastern Tennessee.