Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) — As the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the World’s Fair continues, a new exhibit showcasing everything about the year 1982 opened Saturday, March 19 inside the East Tennessee Historical Center.
In 1982, everyone was saying ‘you should be here,’ in reference to attending the World’s Fair, where Knoxville saw over 11 million visitors from May through October. Now ‘you should’ve been there’ is being said, and with the help of the East Tennessee Historical Society, it’s almost possible.
“It’s a real–almost like a time machine, to kind of experience what it was like in 1982,” said Dr. Warren Docktor, the president and CEO of the East Tennessee Historical Society.
The newly formed exhibit showcases artifacts from the World’s Fair that may look familiar to Knoxville residents around 40 years ago. Pins, keychains, buttons and uniforms fill display cases in the exhibit.
“It’s a chance for us to kind of pause and look back as a way to look forward, because so many things that were relevant in 1982, are still relevant today,” Docktor said.
The theme of the World’s Fair was “Energy Turns the World,” and it now has many relevant ties to today from the high gas prices to touchscreen technology.
“We have some of that technology here to use as a part of the exhibition,” Docktor said.
Museum staff spent six months bringing the World’s Fair back to life inside the history center downtown. Visitors will find photos, facts, stories and displays that will take them back to the past. The biggest takeaway Docktor said comes from what the community can provide during this time of celebration.
“We still have a living memory of what it was like in Knoxville in 1982, and it would be good to get people’s memories and thoughts and recollections of that.”
The exhibit is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday from now through Oct. 9.
Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for senior citizens 55 years and older; and free for children under 16 years old. Admission is FREE for everyone on Sundays. Group discount rates available and members of ETHS always receive free admission.
The East Tennessee Historical Society and Museum is located at 601 S Gay Street in downtown Knoxville.