KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Museum of Appalachia is asking for the community’s help after a storm tore down its beloved Wilson Barn.
When the museum opened in 1969, its founder John Rice Irwin bought the barn from Union County and had it reconstructed on the grounds. For nearly 40 years, it’s been a major part of the museum’s pioneer farm village. That is until an ash tree fell right down the barn’s center during a storm. According to the museum, this is the first time, they have had a structure be destroyed.
Some of the tree is still lodged in the center of the Wilson Barn.
“For the hundreds of thousands of guests we’ve had here since 1969 it really served as a representation of Southern Appalachian agriculture for tons and tons of folks,” said Will Meyer, Marketing Director for the Museum of Appalachia. “It’s heartbreaking because it’s been such a part of the museum for such a long time and we feel like the museum’s not complete without it – and so we launched this fundraiser to try and raise some money to restore it.”
The museum hopes to raise $10,000 to remove the tree and do its best to restore the barn.
“We are happy to get anything. We know it’s going to cost more than $10,000 so that would just get us on our way. We hope to reach that if we don’t then we’ll figure out other ways to raise some money to help to restore it. But anything that someone can give whether it’s $5 or $500, we are incredibly grateful because we know times are tight for people,” said Meyer.
If you’d like to help fix up the barn, visit the Museum of Appalachia’s Facebook page to donate.