Lenoir City High School advanced art students got a taste of local history during a recent project for the Lenoir City Museum.
LCHS art teacher Susanne Tyler likes to annually take students downtown to the museum.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still a factor, she worked to bring the field trip to her students. Local historians spoke with students in the auditorium and LCHS senior Ethan Vincil provided “storytelling-type music,” Tyler said.
“I’m from Lenoir City and I think it’s really important for the kids just to have a better background of where they live, knowing more about their roots,” Tyler said. “Even if they’ve moved here from another community it’s still their community. I couldn’t take them anywhere due to COVID so I tried to pull up as many people as I could that would do storytelling.
“We did an art project for the Lenoir City Museum with bricks from the cotton mill and my students, each one drew a cotton mill image and we attached it to the bricks and the museum is going to sell those to make money,” she added. “The unique thing about the bricks, everybody viewed the cotton mill just a little bit differently with their drawings, they’re quite beautiful. In appreciation for that, the museum sponsored our lunch today, which is prepared by the culinary class.”
Nineteen bricks were placed on the art class Instagram page for the community to rank. The contest concluded two weeks ago.
LCHS senior Emily Kelly’s brick was the in-house winner.
“What I visualized was kind of a fantasy world because when I went to the ruins of the cotton mill it reminded me of a ruined castle, so I went for kind of a fairy theme,” Kelly said.
After three years in Tyler’s class, Monday marked the first time she didn’t go on a field trip.
“I think it is a good learning experience because you can hear firsthand from the people that know a lot about these things,” Kelly said. “You can learn the history where we live and how things came to where they are today. ... Usually we’ve gone to the museum in her classes. Last time I was in her class we made buildings from downtown and so when we took the field trip we went and saw the buildings that we made and then went to the museum. Usually we do a project about the history and (she) haves us do something related to that.”
History buffs Joe Brookshire and Gary Holt spoke on the Civil War. Others present were Beverly Sweeney, Lenoir City Cotton Mill Association president, Joe Spence, retired LCHS teacher and museum founder and director, and Darrell Tuck, county historian and retired Loudon County Schools teacher.
A 1994 LCHS graduate, Brookshire now serves as a Lenoir City firefighter and helps maintain the cotton mill property.
“Gary’s been doing living histories probably since I think he’s been in it since the ‘70s,” Brookshire said. “Kind of really just really let the kids ask questions and see what their interest might be. Other than that, we’re just going to kind of give them a rundown on some of the history of what happened during the Civil War in downtown Lenoir City and probably a little bit just in the close part of the county itself what could have happened, what did happen, where some troops were at, what was going on. Just some generalized history of the places they can go see. I mean, you can walk the greenway and see quite a few Civil War sites.”