Artifact of the Week: Medal of Honor Citation


This citation for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor that can be bestowed on an American in combat by the President, was issued to First Lieutenant Joseph Cecil of New River, TN. Cecil was serving at Bud-Dajo located in the Philippine Islands during the Philippine Insurrection, an offshoot of the Spanish American War. On March 7, 1906 while at the head of a column of soldiers, Cecil carried a wounded comrade to a sheltered position and retrieved the body of another comrade. Cecil was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Calvin Coolidge. Joseph Cecil rose to the rank of colonel and served in WWI. He died in 1940 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Colonel Joe Cecil Bridge, spanning New River, is named for him. The whereabouts of his Medal of Honor is unknown.

Note: his citation gives his name as Josephus Cecil

Artifact of the Week: Wedding Dress


Joy Dirksen Baker's Wedding Dress
Danice Joy Dirksen Baker, daughter of Everett and Louella Dirksen, married Howard Henry Baker Jr. on December 22, 1951. She wore a Marshall Fields original wedding gown with matching kidskin gloves. Although overshadowed by her husband's illustrious political career, Joy Baker served on influential committees for Knoxville College, the Kennedy Center or Performing Arts, and Ford's Theater, receiving a Lincoln Medal in 1985 for her work at Ford's Theater. She died on April 24, 1993 and was buried in the Mossop Cemetery adjacent from the First Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, TN.

Artifact of the Week: Baby Cradle


This beautiful baby cradle was handmade around 1912. The corners are dovetailed, which is one of the strongest joints used in carpentry. The cradle includes intricate carving on the headboard and graceful rockers. Hand forged iron brackets, made in a blacksmith shop, hold the rockers onto the cradle. The rockers extend beyond the width of the cradle so that the mother could use her foot to rock the cradle leaving her hands free to complete other tasks.

Artifact of the Week: Cannon Shell


This Civil War cannon shell, on display at the museum, was found in Scott County. Not to be confused with a cannon ball which is solid on the inside, hollow shells like these were used against enemy forces by exploding into shrapnel when fired from a cannon. Isaac Griffith, one of the few men from Scott County to fight for the Confederacy, remembered in his 79th year his experience with a shell like this. "On our return through the (Cumberland) Gap wee campd at Tasville at the last of October in the morning the snow was about 5 inceas deep, when wee was getting beakfast some fool picked up a bomb shell and had it for a day iron. It exsploed and killed three men."


Artifact of the Week: Woodland Era Pot

This woodland-era pot, dating to 2,000 years ago, was used by early Native Americans as a cooking pot. It was excavated by students in the Anthropology class at Scott High School. The students found 75% of the pot and sent it to the University of Tennessee to have it carbon-dated and reassembled. Not all of the pieces were found, as evidenced by the modern clay used to fill up the holes in the pot. The woodland era began around 1,000 B.C. and ended 1,000 A.D. Pottery during this time period is very simple and has check-stamping instead of handles. Check stamping is when the Native Americans would take a vine-wrapped paddle and would put indentations into the wet clay used to grip the finished pot when it was greasy or wet.