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Norris Dam Construction Subject of New Exhibit at Lenoir Museum

Lenoir Museum, part of interpretive programming at Norris Dam State Park, will unveil a new, temporary exhibit on Oct. 15 about the construction of Norris Dam in the 1930s.

The exhibit is titled “A Groundbreaking Achievement: The Construction of Norris Dam 1933-1936.”

“We are honored to tell the story of this engineering feat that forever shaped the Clinch River and the impact rural electrification had on the residents of the Tennessee Valley,” Park Manager Veronica Greer said. “This exhibit is dedicated to the hardworking individuals and sacrifice so many made for the sake of progress.”

This exhibit will feature rarely before seen photographs of the dam construction, including unique panoramas showing the progression of the project.

The artifacts and photos speak to the individual stories of the men and women whose hard work built the structure that changed the Tennessee Valley. The exhibit is dedicated to the engineers, welders, carpenters, electricians, and laborers among others who completed the dam.

In October 1933, while America was in the grips of the Great Depression, the newly created Tennessee Valley Authority broke ground on Norris Dam, its first major project. Over the next three years the TVA and thousands of men and women worked to build the engineering marvel. Most workers were residents of the Tennessee Valley and relished the opportunity for paid work in hard times. 

The Lenoir Museum is located at 2121 Norris Freeway in Norris, Tenn., and is open Wednesday through Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free to all. Contact the Lenoir Museum at (865) 494-9688 or the Norris Dam State Park office at (865) 425-4500.

Will G. and Helen H. Lenoir Museum Will G. Lenoir donated much of the contents of the museum to the State of Tennessee for permanent display. He collected for more than 60 years with a desire that the rapidly changing times not wipe out an appreciation of the hard work and ingenuity that were a part of the everyday life that was disappearing. It was not only the item, but also the stories of the people behind them he cared about.