The Historic Collinsville, located in Southside, TN, is a picturesque and unique living history museum that takes visitors on a trip back in time to the 1800s. This charming village offers a glimpse into the past and showcases authentic examples of life in rural America during this era.
Read more as we’ll talk about this attraction in today’s post.
The museum village was founded in 1974 by JoAnn and Glenn Weakley, who were passionate about preserving and sharing their love of history with others. The Weakleys spent decades traveling across the United States collecting historic artifacts and building replicas of historic structures. They then transported these structures to their 40-acre property in Southside, where they reconstructed them as they would have appeared in the 19th century.
Today, the museum serves as a unique and educational destination for visitors of all ages. Here’s everything you need to know before planning your visit:
The Village – The village is made up of over a dozen buildings, each one carefully constructed to replicate a different aspect of life in the 1800s. Some of the buildings include a schoolhouse, church, doctor’s office, general store, blacksmith shop, and several homes from the period.
Each structure is filled with artifacts and period-appropriate furnishings that provide visitors with an immersive experience of what life was like for early settlers. For example, the general store houses an impressive collection of antique tools, household items, and remedies. The doctor’s office is complete with instruments from the time period, including a real bleeding bowl. The schoolhouse features desks and books, as well as old-fashioned games and toys.
Educational Programs – In addition to touring the village, the living museum offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages. These programs are designed to provide a hands-on experience that allows visitors to interact with history in a meaningful way.
One popular program is the “Living History” program, which involves costumed interpreters portraying characters from the 1800s. These interpreters lead visitors through the village, providing insight into daily life from this time period and answering questions along the way.
Another program is the “Heritage Arts” program, which offers visitors the opportunity to learn traditional crafts and skills from the 19th century. This program includes a variety of workshops, such as candle making, basket weaving, and blacksmithing.
Events – Throughout the year, the museum hosts a variety of events that celebrate different aspects of life in the 1800s. One popular event is the “Fall Homecoming,” which takes place every October. During this event, the village comes to life with live music, historic demonstrations, and vendors selling handmade crafts and goods.
Another event is the “Christmas on the Cumberland” celebration, which takes place during the month of December. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the decorated village, complete with carolers, hot cocoa, and visits from Santa Claus.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when visiting this museum:
Wear Comfortable Shoes – The village is spread out over 40 acres, so be prepared to do some walking. Comfortable shoes are a must.
Bring Sunscreen – The museum is located in the southern part of Tennessee, which means it can get quite hot during the summer months. Be sure to bring sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing.
Pack A Picnic – There’s no food available on site, so pack a picnic if you plan on staying for more than an hour or two.
When packing food to take on a visit to the museum is important to remember a few things. First, make sure to choose food items that can easily be transported and are not too messy or crumbly. Pack foods such as sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruit, nuts, and other snacks that are easy to eat on the go.
Second, it is essential to include any utensils and napkins needed for eating the food items you bring along.
Finally, remember to take garbage bags with you for disposing of your trash when you leave.
Visitors are not allowed to bring or consume alcoholic drinks on the premises. All consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited and those caught disregarding this rule will be asked to leave immediately.
The museum strives to provide a family-friendly environment that is safe and enjoyable for all visitors. Bringing alcohol on site is not only prohibited but it can also create an unsafe atmosphere for other visitors.
Bring Cash – Collinsville does not accept credit cards, so be sure to bring cash for admission and any purchases you may make in the gift shop.
Plan For The Weather – Although many of the buildings are indoors, some of the activities take place outside. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your visit and dress accordingly.
Take A Camera – The village is full of picturesque buildings and scenic views. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture your memories.
Overall, the Historic Collinsville in Southside, TN, is a unique and educational destination that provides visitors with a glimpse into what life was like for early settlers in rural America. From the authentic buildings to the costumed interpreters, visitors will feel transported back in time as they explore the village.
With a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, this museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history and culture.