Summer program series at Sycamore Shoals kicks off today

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Beginning this week and lasting through the summer, the staff at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park will be joined by some special assistants who will help the park bring history to life.

Seasonal Interpretive Rangers Stuart Shelton and Jessica Newell will host a variety of educational activities through the “History at Home” program series at the park.

“They will be providing different experiences as they look into the history of Sycamore Shoals and give glimpses into the culture and life on the frontier,” Park Manager Jennifer Bauer said, adding Shelton and Newell will be giving visitors “a new take on what we do here.”

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Newell is currently a graduate student at East Tennessee State University working towards a degree in Archival Studies. She has been fascinated by history ever since a trip to Colonial Williamsburg with her family at the age of seven. Experiences such as dressing in period clothing and holding aloft the group’s candlelit lantern during a haunted tour of the Historic Area stayed with her for years to come.

She began volunteering as a historical reenactor at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in 2008 and enjoys sharing the past with visitors in the same immediate fashion that had so captivated her as a child. This summer, she looks forward to sharing her love of history with visitors as a Seasonal Interpreter at Sycamore Shoals.

Shelton has a history of interpretive work. While living in Newport News, Virginia, he volunteered at the Virginia Living Museum as a trail and touch tank interpreter. When not volunteering at the Virginia Living Museum, Shelton participated in American Civil War reenactments and Living History events. After moving to Flag Pond during his junior year of high school, Shelton still volunteered whenever he could. During the summer, he volunteered at the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site in Johnson City. After graduating from East Tennessee State University in May 2017, Stuart Shelton is now working as a Seasonal Interpreter Ranger at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. Here, he intends to help make the history of Sycamore Shoals, the Carter Mansion, and Carter County come alive for guests of all ages and backgrounds.

The History at Home series is offered in addition to the park’s already scheduled monthly programs which include workshops, music jams, living history events, and the Park’s production of the Liberty! outdoor drama in July.

As part of History at Home, Shelton and Newell will host several events each week including tours of the historic Carter Mansion as well as programs on aspects of frontier life such as gardening, games, clothing styles, and weapons demonstrations. Some programs will focus on the Cherokee culture and how frontier settlers interacted with their Cherokee neighbors.

For a schedule of History at Home programs, visit and select History at Home under the Monthly Interpretive Programs tab. For more information contact Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park at 423-543-5808.