What we did this Summer

I feel like we are about to reminisce about what happened this Summer in a school report for the Seventh Grade, Mrs. Hickman’s English class.

We decided to shutdown the Museum for a month, one of our staff had requested 7 weeks off to spend with her daughter. It seemed like a good thing to do. We needed some time to take a deep breath and assess where we were and where we wanted to go. Little did I suspect that I wasn’t going to get much- if any of that time off.

We closed our doors officially June 5th. I worked an additional week to get a few projects finished, then found out the KCS Maintenance needed to clear our storage area in the Auditorium/Stage. We begun work on that only to learn the following Friday, that our new neighbor’s the Dover renovation group working on rebuilding the old South Junior High into a nursing home, had broken the water main. It was Friday, I said no big deal and went home.

Then I got the call Saturday that disaster had struck. By the time, I arrived at 12:30 on Saturday, most of it was over. According to what I was told, Dover’s construction workers had failed to inform the Sarah Simpson staff exactly when they had broken the water main. In that time someone had used the men’s bathroom upstairs from the museum and a urinal had not completed its cycle leaving its flow valve open.

In the meantime, KUB had come out and fixed the breakage and when the water came back on it hit the urinal like an oil well blowing. One maintenance guy described it as a fountain. In short, the water from the broken urinal flooded the two rooms above the Museum and our overflow room which was the old choir room.

Fortunately for us, the leakage in the museum only took out 8 ceiling tiles and one poster. So while it was quite the mess, there was not real damage in the museum. The choir room was not so lucky. It flooded the bottom floor and several tiers where the student desks had been. It took almost 12 hours to drain and dry it.

We ended up with damaged boxes, annuals, pictures, and water sodden memorabilia. We had stored everything but much of it was in cardboard boxes. The loss in some ways is unrecoverable.

What was worse is that it didn’t end there. The room kept leaking and it would take another 2 weeks with KCS maintenance working overtime to finally sort it all out. Now, we are slowly assessing the damage and raising the funds to make sure nothing like this happens again.

Since then, it has dominated our summer. The Museum was forced to stay closed until July 15th. We lack the volunteers to build the racks all at once, or even to do much sorting of the damaged items. We are going to try to restore everything that was damaged by the water.

We need your help.

We need volunteers

We have a donation campaign going on Facebook right now.

or you can mail us a check.

and that what we did this Summer.

Welcome to Spring and April

I Admit it. I had planned for this to be a monthly blog.

But I have now allowed two months to go by in silence.

The Museum has had it’s share of illness and troubles for February and March.

But we are back on track and things are beginning to wake up with the coming of spring.

We are beginning our planning for the Sock Hop coming up May 31st. We are planning on having the event in a smaller space closer to the Museum. DJ “Smokin’ Bill” Rutherford with DJ the music for the night. Raffling some records/CDs for the event. We are looking into having Catered food as well. There will also be a silent auction and tours of the Museum.

Since it is Spring, we are engaging in spring cleaning. We’re in the process of cleaning out our workroom and storage areas. We have designs on redoing the layout of the Museum to include a full old-timey classroom setup. Introduce the narrative of how Education in Knox County came to be by displaying our collection in chronological order as Knox County moved from the one-room school house into the County and City Schools and back again into one system.

We have plans for adding a small sound studio in order to host a weekly pod-cast focused around Educational History and local color. Stay tuned for more on this. We’ll be doing some targeted fundraising for this project as we’ll have to purchase the recording equipment.

We’re busy but we always have the time for a visit from all of you. Come down and have a complimentary (free) cup of coffee and chat with our volunteers and Director.

Winter and the New Year, 2019

Welcome to 2019!

A New year has begun. We’ve made resolutions that we want to keep, some will be unreachable and some will change so much that by the time we reach them, we will find that we are no longer satisfied with what they would attain. Still, we must set goals with each year that will help us move forward.

This is no different for the Museum, We are setting goals even as we are trying to meet the ones from last year. We made so much progress. Over the break we reflected on all we had accomplished in 2018. Now we look forward to 2019 with the anticipation of what we can accomplish together will soon outweigh all that has gone before.

We have just finished our Sixth Newsletter and mailed out the first run of them to the Friends of the Museum and some other associates. We are going to mail more soon. Our Goal is to keep all of you informed, to educate, remind and report on what we are doing this Museum for.

With each successive Newsletter, we are going to share what we are doing at the Museum, the histories of our schools, feature influential educators, and share our events and activities. We are going to remember all those who generously support us each year.

As we head into the heart of winter we are going to explore other ways we can connect with the community. One project that we are planning to undertake is a monthly Podcast, that will feature discussion along with Q&A with our Facebook community that will hopefully air in late winter/early spring. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Podcasts, think of it as a radio-show that includes news and discourse about the Museum and Educational history that can be listened to Live and/or at a later time when you have time for it.

As we look into the first days of the new year, we look forward to getting feedback from all of You, on all that we are doing and what you hope to see us doing.

Mike van Vuuren
KCME Staff


Mary Halsey.jpg

Mary Hodge Halsey

by Jody Davis


By Jody Davis, KCME Volunteer

You wouldn’t think of Mary Catherine (Hodge) Halsey as an important major book author.  She wasn’t.  But to the many graduates of the now closed Rule High School, she is THE most important book author they know.  GOLDEN MEMORIES OF RULE HIGH SCHOOL, A History, was that book.  Mary passed away in Atlanta, Georgia, December 4, 2018 at the age of 90.


Born in Strawberry Plains, growing up in Knoxville, Mary was a 1946 graduate of Rule High School and was selected as “Most Studious” of her senior class.  After graduation from Rule, she attended Hiwassee College.  She married William Ingram form Vonore, Tennessee.  They moved to Atlanta, Georgia where they had one child, a daughter, Annette.  The family then located to Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan, where during the 50’s and 60’s Mary worked at Fruehauf and later for the Teamsters Union during Jimmy Hoffa’s term.  She subsequently worked directly for Frank Fitzsimmons, Jimmy Hoffa’s replacement.  After the Teamsters, Mary began working for the Social Security Administration, transferring to Ventura, California in 1962 and then to San Francisco and Vallejo.  She then transferred to Phoenix, Arizona, marrying her second husband, Keith Halsey, and eventually retiring there.  In 1981, Mary moved back to Atlanta to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren.  Another move back to her roots to Knoxville was necessitated by helping care for her brother Walter “Junior” Hodge, Jr. during his illness before passing.


During this return to Knoxville, Mary reconnected with relatives, friends and Rule classmates whom she had not seen for about 50 years.  In an effort to promote the memory of Rule High, Mary was instrumental in initiating still ongoing Rule High School breakfast meetings.  Along with her interest in keeping the memory of Rule alive, Mary, upon reading a story in the newspaper about a school museum opening in Historic Knoxville High School, showed up at the Knox County Museum of Education the very next day to offer any assistance she could.  She became a valued contributor to the Museum, volunteering time, items for display, as well as monetary contributions.  She continued her support of the Museum from afar after a final move back to Atlanta to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, where she was an active member of her retirement community.


During Mary’s volunteer work with the Museum and continuing efforts to keep Rule High memories alive, Mary developed an interest, with encouragement and support of other Rule graduates to write the historical account of Rule High School…….hence her book, published in 2006. Mary received an award from the East Tennessee Historical Society for this publication.  Copies of GOLDEN MEMORIES OF RULE HIGH SCHOOL, A History, are still available at the Knox County Museum of Education.  Prior to learning of her passing, the Museum, with support of Rule High graduates, was in the planning stages of making a display case in Mary’s honor.  Those efforts are ongoing, and with the support of Mary’s family, as expressed through her daughter, any contributions in Mary’s honor can be made to the Knox County Museum of Education, 801 Tipton Avenue, Knoxville, TN  37920, 865-579-8264, ext. 5, https://www.kcme.website/.   Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., M – F.

The Closing of the Year.


“If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have…(sic)”

(Wendy &Lisa, TOYS 1992)

This is the main theme to a movie called TOYS which came out in 1992, starring Robin Williams. The movie did not do well and has faded from the small audiences it initially reached. The movie is one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie was critically underrated and had a terrible marketing campaign. TOYS is a beautiful movie that captures the essence of joy and hope that can only be found in the sense of childlike innocence.

But it is the main Theme that brings it into this blog. We are at the closing of the Year. Whenever I come to this time of the year, I sing the opening lyrics of the song and know that Christmas has come. I get this sense that hope has returned to reality and that the innocence of my childhood can take hold again. I find myself, at 49, hoping that a good old-fashioned toy will be left for me under the Christmas Tree this year. That Santa is still a Jolly old Saint Nick and despite all the movies and TV shows that say otherwise, he still remembers that I have been nice.

At the Museum, Christmas comes in the form of donations to the museum. The Museum Director dives into each box like a small girl discovering that Santa has left her a box of goodies on Christmas Morning. For us, “elves,” we wait until she has gone through everything and then we must file and place each of the treasures in their appropriate new homes. There is this moment of discovery that will be shared as the young man discovers his mother was in the band of her High School that makes all that work, we have down over the year worthwhile. Seeing the joy in connection as two strangers connect here only to discover their fathers, we on the same basketball team as they both gaze at their dads’ team pictures. Their laughter and delight fill the museum.

This is the kind of Christmas that we have in the museum. With each year we forge new connections, find memories once thought to be lost, even as we bid farewell to old friends and preserve another story into history. We come together here, a community for everyone who was ever a kid in Knox County Schools or Knoxville City Schools, for everyone who had a parent or uncle or aunt, who had a grandparent, who went to these schools. For anyone who comes to discover the connection that they have here in our little museum where History has found its home.

So, at the closing of the year…

“We all must learn from small misfortune
Count the blessings that are real
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year “

(Wendy & Lisa, TOYS)


Thoughts on November and the Importance of Family and Friends

Thoughts on November and the Importance of Family and Friends

It’s November 1st, as I write this blog. I look out my window for the turning of the leaves. The leaves are late this year and may hold out until winter. The natural world around us is changing. Things we have long grown to expect are not occurring the way we expect them to. Autumn has come, but the spectacular colors have not. It has been unseasonably warm, we’ve had terrible storms. It leaves me with a feeling of uncertainty as I sit here preparing to write to you.

The one thing about November that has not changed for me is Thanksgiving. The rest of the commercial world is already celebrating Black Friday (that’s the sales day ‘traditionally” after Thanksgiving) and moving onto Christmas. We will be presented with Christmas music loops in the grocery stores and restaurants from now until New Years. Personally, I will struggle not to grind my teeth or my ax and smile politely while stuff my napkin in my ears. This is the month of Thanksgiving not Christmas or sales or spending money on people who for the most part don’t deserve much more than a lump of coal. I’ll have mine black and crispy.

Since you’ve made it to my point, here it is. This is Thanksgiving. A time when we, as one people. should put aside our differences and celebrate all the good things that America has given us. For better or worse, we are all Americans. I challenge all of you to be thankful to family, friends, ancestors, freedoms, homes, and the myriad of small things we all take for granted. It will be hard. There are many challenges and thorns in our paths

As the country struggles with elections, terrible pilgrim plays, turkey rights, whether mashed potatoes are acceptable without gravy. Stop, look around you and thank something or someone for the blessings you do have.

At the Museum, I am grateful for the following things and people:

·         Incoming Donations. So many wonderful items have come in this year to help us share the great history of our school system and the incredible people it produced. The stories that come with them, told by a former teacher’s aide telling about that one student who told her that she wouldn’t have passed English without her help.

·         Financial Donations. The willingness of donors to provide us with the means to continue our mission of preserving and sharing our pasts. We truly benefit from it every day. Listening to the man pause as he writes a check to adopt a case, to tell me how much his mother meant to everyone who came to her classroom. That without her years of service so many kids would not have made it. Years of strangers coming up in stores and on the street to tell him how much his mother had done for them.

·         Volunteers like Cheryl Pratt who gave of her precious time to supervise newspaper clippings, joking and laughing with Ernie Murphy about life and the strange stories that crop up in the papers, before talking about that last Halls High School win over Fulton then asking me to buy more big purple glue sticks then turning to Horace Grissom to hand over their work for his approval before the pages are added to the appropriate history notebook.

·         To Benna van Vuuren, our director, for creating this space (with lots of help) and giving us our mission to pursue. Without her, there would be no Museum. Making her coffee and Rusk as she begins her days going through the newspapers to pull those articles that pertain to educational history. Listening to her tell her favorite Mildred Doyle story as she sits at Miss Doyle’s famous desk. She part of this history that surrounds all of us.

·         To the Newspapers of Knoxville who continue to publish articles featuring the Museum, keeping us in the public eye and interest. Please keep publishing the stories that fill our notebooks. Without your efforts, we’d be hard pressed for evidence that any of this ever happened. We could make claims, but it is your writing and photos that prove that any of it actually ever happened.

·         To Knox County School System, for giving us the space to operate, for always backing up our crazy and sane ideas. For the staff, who have been so patient with us and even take their precious time to come see what we are up to. To Superintendent Thomas, without whom we’d be lost for space. To Kaye Good who has been our greatest supporter for years and the museum’s friend. To the Maintenance Department whose skills and willingness to work has moved the Museum twice and provided the beautiful workmanship of our hall displays.

·         To the Schools we all went to and probably even graduated from. We are blessed with their histories and our small parts in them. Standing in the hallway, looking at the displays finding my mother’s picture there next to my father. The letter jacket he gave me when I was old enough. Getting lost in a memory before finding my picture in a High School annual, I was so young then, so very young.

And there is so much more, the teachers, the students, the former teachers and former students and all the visitors who come and those people who just wander in wondering what this strange and magical place in the Sarah Simpson building is. We look forward to your visits. Come by and have a free cup of coffee and experience the gratitude of Knoxville and our small slice of history of us all.


KNOX COUNTY MUSEUM OF EDUCATION Honor Roll Induction Ceremony and 13th Birthday Celebration

You are invited to attend the Second Honor Roll Induction Ceremony of the Knox County Museum of Education.  The ceremony will be Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm in the Great Room of the Sarah Simpson Professional Development Technology Center (former South High School) 801 Tipton Avenue, next to Dogwood Elementary School in South Knoxville.  The Knox County Museum of Education is a hands on museum dedicated to collecting, inventorying, and displaying anything of a historical value pertaining to Knox County and Knoxville Schools.  You will find displayed many school yearbooks, scrapbooks, photographs, school jackets and sweaters, sports uniforms, band uniforms, cheerleader uniforms, school programs, trophies and memorabilia of all sorts.


Each of the new Honor Roll Inductees had a hand in either education directly or contributing to the Museum directly, and in many cases doing both.  This year’s inductees are:


Earl Hoffmeister -- deceased, former teacher, coach and School         Superintendent.


Ron Allen -- deceased, self-motivated Knox County and Knoxville City Historian and major KCME contributor.


Michael van Vuuren -- volunteer, contributor, former Board Member and current KCME Administrative Clerk.


Walter Mencer – former teacher, school band director and school administrator.


Anne Meek – former teacher, school principal and major contributor.


Dr. Margie Le Coultre – former teacher, school principal, school administrator, volunteer, contributor and current Board Member.


Loretta Crowder – volunteer, contributor and display designer.


Wayne Smith – volunteer, contributor and current Board Chair.


Wayne Keener – volunteer, contributor and board member.


Dick McPherson – volunteer, contributor and board member.


Horace Grissom --  volunteer, contributor and ‘white notebook’ specialist.


Alan Webb – volunteer, contributor and inventory entry specialist.


The evening’s Master of Ceremonies will be Sue Boyer, school supervisor, school accreditation, volunteer, contributor, KCME co-founder, and KCME Board member.  Performing the honor of handing out medallions and certificates is former School Administrator and Superintendent, and KCME co-founder, Roy Mullins. The evening’s ceremony includes light horderves and ticket price is a tax deductible donation of only $25 per person.  This donation can be used as yearly membership to Friends of the Museum, an In Honor of donation, or an In Memory of donation.  Help us celebrate this special occasion with your attendance.  To RSVP or for more information about the Induction Ceremony, contact the Director, Mrs. Benna van Vuuren at the Museum at (865)579-8264, ext. 5., or via e-mail at museum@knoxschools.org. 


Welcome to Autumn.

As we enter October and the leaves turn into a spectacular display of colors.

As we enter October and the leaves turn into a spectacular display of colors.

School’s in full session, Fall Break is peeking around the corner, for some of us as early as Friday as the first bell rings. The Museum will actually remain open through Tuesday next week before closing until the following Monday. I plan to catch up on sleep and watch my corgis run around in the falling leaves. Time seems to stop momentarily today, as if to ask us all what the hurry is about before flowing like an autumnal breeze back into the passage of time.

Change is all around us. Troubles come and go. At the Museum, we continue to update school histories through newspaper articles from the Sentinel, Shoppers, East Knox News, Farragut paper and others. This is our living history. Each relevant article goes into the white notebook that the story effects. Which often means that the same story will end up in multiple school notebooks. Each week, our volunteers clip the articles as we find them and assemble the pages that ware then added to the school notebook and that school’s history is updated.

As Halloween preparations take over the lawns where leaves are being raked up for compost heaps, my imagination and memory turns back to playing in the leaf piles while mothers worry what bugs and debris their children will carry into the house in their hair and clothes. Warm baths and hot soups will follow.

We have had our first Event meeting and will continue to plan. The question is will the Event remain a Sock Hop or become something else? Something more durable and endearing? On the table is the idea of having a Dance with a DJ rather than a live band. We are eager for fresh input, so please come to our next meeting on October 18th at 4:30pm at the Museum. We will provide coffee and some light refreshments. If for some reason, you want to come but that is too early, call us and let us know and we will wait for you.

Until then enjoy the Autumnal calm for the Witching hour will soon arrive.

Photo by RomoloTavani/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by RomoloTavani/iStock / Getty Images

Welcome to the School Year 2018-2019

Photo by gpointstudio/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by gpointstudio/iStock / Getty Images

As we watch the new school year unfold in the American education system, the thought comes to me about the unique opportunity that the Museum has: we are witness to history in the making. We are, after all, the Museum of Education and the history of is being made all around us. We have taken the responsibility to preserve the collective histories of the many schools of Knox County and Knoxville City systems as well as those of the private ones within the Knox County borders. We preserve the history that has gone before, but more than that, we witness and report the history that is being made now.

As we approach this new year, we are striving to make sure that everyone around us knows, not only that we are here preserving the past but also witnessing the future as it is being told by the students and teachers around us. We invite all of you, students, teachers, administrators, staff, community leaders, community volunteers to take part in our mission to tell the ongoing story of education in this great county!

Come join us at the museum and add your story to our collections. We want to know about your school's past and present. Share your history with us. 

Michael van Vuuren.
Administrative Clerk
Knox County Museum of Education

The Need for Funds

Photo by Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock / Getty Images

The Museum needs money to stay operational. We have several methods for fundraising. We currently offer a membership called "Friends of the Museum," the base membership being $25 a year and goes up to about $1000. We have a small membership compared to the number of people who visit the museum and use our resources. We offer an "Adopt a Case" option, where a person or group can adopt one of our existing or future display cases in honor of someone they want, $350 per case. This is a one time adoption, though, so it limited in it scope. We also have a "In Memory of/ In Honor of" Remembrance option where a tribute can be made for or of someone by a person or a group and the tribute is entered into a permanent book in the Museum. 

We also hold a yearly "Sock Hop," we just held our fourth one. It's a good social occasion with some further fundraising options like the Silent Auction and Raffle. Normally, it brings in a fair amount of funds but even the Sock Hop is not providing enough income as our needs at the Museum continue to expand and grow.

What we need is for you to help us. Our website takes direct one time or recurring donations. We need volunteers to not just help to run the day to day operations but also to solicit donations and help us to find the means to preserve this effort to preserve our pasts. It is our history of what most of us will look back on as the best years of our lives.


August Newsletter news

Our Format is changing. We are going for a more newspaper/magazine approach in which we hope to engage our readership more. The following changes are being made.

  1. The Director's quiz is taking a hiatus in favor of a School focused history piece
  2. We are adding two school themed articles that are social pieces fueled by our Facebook page discussions
  3. We'll be focusing more on new and/ or interesting items that have come into the museum over the last six months.
  4. We are going to incorporate local business Ads for other organizations that don't usually get covered. Also the initial ones will be free and will be more like mini-stories than Ads.
  5. We are shooting for putting out the Newsletter twice a year with the Summer one being 7 1/2 pages and the Winter edition 9 1/2 page (1/2 page is mailing page).

So Friends of the Museum standby for great things to come.

A New Brochure, An Updated Message

When you visit the Museum, you will journey back in time to your school days. Come explore our collection of yearbooks, find carefully written messages in the covers, notes scrawled on the pages, and photographs of long gone but often remembered classmates. This is time traveling, come see that letter jacket your best friend new, the class ring you gave your first girlfriend, your old band uniform from middle school or your son’s daily primer from Elementary.

Explore our range of artifacts like the Amherst School Bell, Mildred Doyle’s legendary desk, class pictures of your grandparents, portraits of your favorite school teacher, that one coach you wished you had thanked for changing your life. Discover our school histories, our professional profiles, find lost family members, old school buildings, mementos thought lost to the passage of time.

All this, and more can be found here at the museum, after all, it is really your museum as it belongs to all of us. What we have has been given by you, entrusting that it will remain here for others to discover and enjoy as much as you did the first time you visited.


Project GRAD visits the Museum

Recently a group of students from Project GRAD got to lend a much needed hand and discover some history at the same time when they visited the Knox County Museum of Education.

“The kids really enjoyed seeing photos of staff members from their schools
and family members, as did I.”

— Jasmine Siler,

Housing memorabilia and artifacts from the history of Knox County schools, the museum is in the Sarah Simpson Professional Development and Technology Center on Tipton Avenue in South Knoxville. "You know, you go in most museums and they’re quiet," said Benna Van Vuuren, executive director of the museum. "This is the noisiest museum you’ll ever find! The people who come here laugh and talk, and they remember."

That was certainly true of the 17 high school sophomores from Austin-East and Fulton High Schools, who had come to help in the cataloging process. Their work, done at tables in groups of five, was often interrupted by squeals of delight. "This room looks exactly the same!" said Ahya Moreno, spotting a picture in a 1989 Austin-East yearbook. "This student has the name of someone from ‘Riverdale’!" said Sharon Sharp, who is a fan of the Netflix series. "The kids really enjoyed seeing photos of staff members from their schools and family members, as did I," said Project GRAD leader Jasmine Siler, who is an alumnus of the program. She’ll be pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling this fall at Lincoln Memorial University.

Current Austin-East students look at an Austin-East yearbook from 1989. Breanna Morris, Quincy Fields and Ahya Moreno are surprised to see that the school itself hasn’t changed that much, though the faces certainly have.  (source) CAROL Z. SHANE/SHOPPER NEWS

Current Austin-East students look at an Austin-East yearbook from 1989. Breanna Morris, Quincy Fields and Ahya Moreno are surprised to see that the school itself hasn’t changed that much, though the faces certainly have. (source) CAROL Z. SHANE/SHOPPER NEWS

They did plenty of work, too — the kids were instructed to look through newspapers and other sources to identify items from their own scho ols, then secure those items in a notebook. That way, said Van Vuuren, when graduates from specific schools come to visit the museum years from now, they’ll know where to look. "Don’t throw away tomorrow’s history," she said, quoting the museum’s motto. It was the first time she and her staff had invited members from Project GRAD to help out.

The national education program, begun in 1989, is known for improving college attendance rates among students. The organization

focuses on improving student achievement and graduation rates, college and career path readiness and college completion rates, working to ensure academic and professional success.

< p class="abody"> Members of the museum staff were pleased to have help. "And I got them chips and Coke," said Van Vuuren, herself a retired schoolteacher, "because, you know, they like that."

The Knox County Museum of Education is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s at 801 Tipton Ave. More info: 865-579-8264 or visit kcme.website.

This group from Project GRAD recently helped out at the Knox County Museum of Education. Shown are (rear) museum director Benna Van Vuuren, Tianna Couch-Cox, Keisharra Jones, Gayza Davenport, Jacquise Clegg, Aaliyah Rice, Tirrell Nixon, K’Onie Warren, Breanna Morris, Sharon Sharp and Arianna Smith; (middle) Montasia Queener, Jamija Henry, Nathaniel Moss, Quincy Fields and Adrian Mota; (front) Ahya Moreno and Zane Nelson.  ERVEN WILLIAMS

This group from Project GRAD recently helped out at the Knox County Museum of Education. Shown are (rear) museum director Benna Van Vuuren, Tianna Couch-Cox, Keisharra Jones, Gayza Davenport, Jacquise Clegg, Aaliyah Rice, Tirrell Nixon, K’Onie Warren, Breanna Morris, Sharon Sharp and Arianna Smith; (middle) Montasia Queener, Jamija Henry, Nathaniel Moss, Quincy Fields and Adrian Mota; (front) Ahya Moreno and Zane Nelson. ERVEN WILLIAMS

reprinted from Knoxville Shopper News Article by Carol Z. Shane

Summer Updates

For many of you, things will slow down for Summer.
Here at the Museum, we are just gearing up, we have our annual Sock Hop coming up Friday May 18th. Tickets are $25 with a $5 discount if you are a current Friend of the Museum. Come by and get your picture made, have a hot dog, win the Twist contest, go home with the raffle prize that you could win. Have a great night!

We will be gearing up to host a few reunions for local Alumni. We always enjoy hosting these events and we have plenty of space. Come take a tour of the Museum while you are here.

We will be closed the First Week in July, we're getting our floors stripped and redone. 

We are always in the process of making improvements to the Museum. Come by and volunteer to help us. We really need some energetic folks that could help us update and create new School Displays in the halls of Old South High. We are looking for creative people who love to decorate these cases.

Hope you all have a safe and cool summer. 

Come by and have a cup of Joe (Coffee- Our clerk Joe never thinks that joke is funny) and vist with us!



It's time for our annual Sock Hop Fundraiser.

Knox County Museum of Education to Host Annual Sock Hop on May 18th


The Knox County Museum of Education is hosting Sock Hop 4 on Friday, May 18th from 6p.m. to 10p.m. at the Sarah Simpson Professional Building, 801 Tipton Avenue.    Free Spirit II and DJ “Smoking” Bill Rutherford of Pro- Audio Group will be providing the music. 


Imagine a Sock Hop of the 50’s and 60’s with everyone enjoying being dressed in the clothes of those years, listening to Rock and Roll music with dancing, eating delicious food and, of course, having fun.   The Knox County Museum of Education wants to take you back to the days when Rock and Roll was King, a diner was your favorite hangout, and you kicked off your shoes and danced the night away with your friends.  A silent auction, photo package and museum tour will be available for attendees.  As a non-profit organization the Knox County Museum of Education depends on donations for its operation and the Sock Hop is a major fundraising event. 

Hundreds of displays and yearbooks, photos, documents, scrapbooks, minutes of important meetings and much more are collected, displayed and stored by the museum volunteer staff.  The museum is a place where anyone can travel back in time to see their own or their family’s school days and where serious educational research on events, issues and people can be found.  The museum is celebrating its 12th year this fall.    The admission ticket to the Sock Hop is $25.  Tickets are available at the Knox County Museum of Education, Knoxville Teachers Federal Credit Union, Knox County Teachers Credit Union Locations or online at www.kcme.website/sock-hop-tickets  and at the door.   Additional information needed is available at the museum, 865-579-8264 ext. 5, Director, Benna van Vuuren


Adopt-A-Case Donors

Adoptee:                                Honoree:

Knoxville High School
Alumni Association                          Knoxville High School Alumni Association 2016

Jerry Askew                                       In Honor of Jerry Askew 2016

Horace Grissom (2)                         In Memory of La Vada Grissom 2016
Beecher Clapp                                 In Honor of Beecher Clapp and Fretta M. Bunch 2016

Gayle Burnett                                  In Memory of Connie (Phifer) and Inslee Burnett
                                                          by Gayle Burnett 2016

Dessa E. Blair                                  In Honor of Dessa E. Blair 2016

David Huntsinger                           In Honor of Judy Huntsinger 2016

Fulton High School
Alumni Association                         Fulton High School Alumni Association 2016

Harvey Sproul                                 In Honor of Harvey and Sylvia Sproul 2016

Knox County Retired
Teachers Association                     Knox County Retired Teachers Association 2017

Jack Williams                                 In Honor of Floyd "Junior" Sharp Rule High School                                                                         Killed in Okinawa June 17, 1945
South High School
Class of 1966                                 In Honor of South High School Class of 1966

Patricia Hunter                             In Memory of Reuben Hunter 2017

La Noka Rhodes                           In Memory of Dr. Donald Rhodes 2016

Harold Mays                                 In Honor of the South High School Faculty

South High School
Alumni Chorus                            In Honor of Harold Mays 2017

Gene Akers                                   In Honor of Our Parents Anne and Franklin Akers

The Hoffmeister Family              In Memory of Earl Hoffmeister 2017    

Beecher Clapp                              In Memory of Mildred Doyle 2017


2107 East Tennessee Historical Society History Fair

The Knox County Museum of Education participated in the 2017 East Tennessee Historical Society History Fair that was held on the Market Square and adjacent streets in downtown Knoxville on Saturday August 19 from 10 am until 5 pm.  The booth was manned by museum volunteers Gayle Burnett, Dick McPherson and museum assistant Joe Sebring all being available to answer questions and provide information about schools in Knox County and the purpose and history of the Knox County Museum of Education.   We had displays of school letter sweaters and jackets, sports trophies and pictures of early school buildings and children in classroom settings with their teachers.  We also brought along several books on Knoxville’s early history that we have available to purchase at the Museum bookstore.  This outreach to the community is a wonderful opportunity for the KCME to make our presence known and hopefully recruit worker volunteers and we look forward to attending again next year.

KCME Unique and Largest Donation: The Ron Allen Donation

   The Museum received its first donation the first week it was open in 2005.   Ron Allen brought labeled, ready to display historical documents, including a yearbook from Baker Himel, dated 1897-1898, Mynders School Certificate ofHonor    11/17/1879, Karns yearbook 1915, Sequoyah yearbook 1927 (Central High), Kalendar yearbook 1916 (Park City High School), 26 items in all.           Ron’s daughter, Jennifer has donated multiple copies of books written by Ron including Knoxstalgia, which includes 300+ short histories of schools prior to 1950, theaters, churches, hotels and other buildings.    Additional books include Theaters In Knoxville, Gay Street, The Street Has Changed, Same Old Smokies, Fairs and Circuses, Nose Guards and Wild Cards, Cas Walker to Downtown Hawkers, and 11 more!    Jennifer also donated his files and equipment.           One of the largest donations consists of Ron Allen’s private record collection of 78 vinyl records – over 200 albums of individual records.    The albums range from Caruso to Voices of D-Day to Dinah Shore to Frank Sinatra.  

The collection includes a description index!


GAY STREET: A History of Gay Street