March 1 – August 7, 2022 @ Birthplace of Country Music Museum
The special exhibit"It'll Tickle Yore Innards!": A (Hillbilly) History of Mountain Dewis on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, in historic downtown Bristol, Virginia. This fun but scholarly exhibit explores the soft drink's storied past that began in the hills of Appalachia. The exhibit examines the region's colorful history in the moonshine trade and its ever-present "hillbilly" stereotype, both of which play an important role in Mountain Dew's success. The special exhibit is on loan from the East Tennessee Historical Society in Knoxville, Tennessee, and will be on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum through Aug.7.
"We are excited to be hosting this wonderful exhibit from the East Tennessee Historical Society," said Dr. Rene Rodgers, head curator of the museum. "Its content touches on several aspects of local and regional history and on the music we celebrate here at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. 'It'll Tickle Yore Innards!'also gives us a great opportunity to offer interesting programming so keep an eye out on our Events page for information about upcoming events related to the exhibit."
Starting with the origins of the phrase "mountain dew" in Europe,"It'll Tickle Yore Innards!"opens with the history of distilling, Prohibition, moonshiningand its impact of the rise of "soft" versus "hard" drinks. The hillbilly stereotype – later depicted vividly on the drink's marketing and branding – grew out of tales published by local writers after the Civil War, was reshaped amid New South ideology, and found fruition in the mid-1900s with pop culture hits likeThe Beverly HillbilliesandHee-Haw.
The exhibit plays on these themes visually, through text and image, using oversized panels with bright imagery and that reference the drink's history in shape and format. Audio-visual elements and text that references the language influenced by the hillbilly stereotype give visitors the chance to fully immerse themselves in the story and have a truly engaging experience.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum hosts a free teacher introduction to the exhibit Thursday, March 3, 4:30 to 6p.m. The event includes a curator-led tour of the exhibit at 5p.m., a chance to check out related educational resources and student tour opportunities, and time to share some snacks and conversation with fellow educators and museum staff and volunteers. Educators may register online through theEvents pageatBirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.
"It'll Tickle Yore Innards!": A (Hillbilly) History of Mountain Dewpresents a wonderful educational opportunity for local and regional schools, presenting a route to the discussion of local history, the history of moonshining and Prohibition, and the hillbilly stereotype through interesting and in-depth content. Teachers may contact Erika Barker, curatorial manager at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, to find out more about booking in-person and virtual tours of this exhibit.
For more information about the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, visitBirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org. Public programming related to the exhibit will be listed on the BCM website'sEvents page.