KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If you’re looking for a fun new learning experience for your children, head downtown to the new History Headquarters for children at the East Tennessee Historical Society. There, you’ll find a new engaging, colorful room rich with all kinds of historical facts about Tennessee.

Layla Smallwood, a former teacher, is the education program manager for the ETHS.

“It’s an interactive family gallery for adults, for grownups, for kids, it’s a great place for everybody to come and learn,” Small wood said. “As you go through specific Tennessee pieces, there’s a rug with state symbols, throughout, the wall is a mural of Tennessee history and symbols and important things you’ll see in the gallery.”

Tallulah Thompson, 5, and her twin brothers Spencer and Grant, 10, gravitated toward the mystery boxes packed with artifacts depicting Tennessee’s role in different eras. Another inviting spot to stretch the imagination is the storied forest where kids can create their own puppet shows and plays. There are also stories to read including a book about Elvis and his impact. There’s a mockup of a cabin as kids can learn about artists and craftspeople.

“I think it’s great,” mom Amanda Thompson said. “The kids seem to really be excited and dove right into everything.”

Parents don’t just watch. They learn, too. Amanda got some hands-on experience in basket weaving. The Memphis family just happened by History Headquarters during a visit to Market Square. They plan to come back.

“What do you think about this place?” we asked Tallulah.

She answered, “Cool!”

Plan a visit to History Headquarters

The East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Saturdays: five available time slots from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sundays: three available time slots from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

During the school year, History Headquarters is reserved for student groups on weekdays. It is open to the general public on weekends. Reservations are required for all visits, just contact the Historical Society.