Barn Again

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
Trip End Dec 25, 1998

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Flag of United States  , Alabama
Friday, May 2, 1997

Go with me? We're headed for Scottsboro, Alabama to see a chunk of Americana, Smithsonian style, at the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center.

"Barn Again: Celebrating An American Icon" is a traveling exhibit developed by the Smithsonian Institution that focuses on barns as a symbol of American culture. Just beginning a two-year stint through seven states, it's stopping in Alabama first.

Exhibition kiosks are packed with scale models and photographs of barns from all over the country. We'll also enjoy examples of roof-top and barn-wall advertising that have been popular through the years. "See Rock City" barns are certainly a familiar sight to anyone traveling Southern highways and byways.

Note the barns gracing the countryside as we drive past the farms of the beautiful Tennessee River Valley on the way to Scottsboro.

"North Alabama has an unusually high number of large barns," says Melanie Bradford, director of the Heritage Center. "There are more than 30 of them in a five-mile stretch of road in the Doran's Cove area."

Allow plenty of time in Scottsboro to wander the eight permanent buildings at the Heritage Center. They take us beyond pioneer times to see tools and artifacts from the first Indian settlers. Children will like the old schoolhouse in Sagetown. Genealogical researchers will benefit from the well-indexed record books in the Little Courthouse.

Extra-special features during this weekend only are two performances by Roadside Theater, a group of Appalachian actors, storytellers and musicians who have toured the United States and Europe. Saturday's play, Cumberland Mountain Memories, tells of both good and hard times on the Cumberland Plateau. Borderline, on Sunday, has a special appeal to young people. The history-sharing stories are dedicated to the idea "if we don't know where we've been, it's hard to know where we're going."

Explore both sides of that notion in Scottsboro this weekend. See you there.

Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center, S Houston Street, Scottsboro, Alabama
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