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Sheep Shearing Day at the Museum of Appalachia

sheep shearing

CLINTON -- In pioneer Appalachia, farmers sheared their sheep each spring for wool to spin into yarn or fill quilts. The Museum of Appalachia will renew this annual ritual on Friday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., trimming the winter's growth of heavy wool from its flock of sheep. The wooly animals will be trimmed by a master of the trade, Dean Fritz of Murfreesboro, who will explain the process to onlookers while using vintage hand-cranked shears operated by "student power."

Spinning, weaving, and quilting demonstrators will show how wool was used to make cloth and quilt batting in the days before ready-made clothing and superstores. The demonstrations fulfill the museum's mission to preserve and pass along the Appalachian culture to future generations. School groups, home-schooled students, and individual parents and children are welcome. Regular admission rates will apply.

Student groups of 30 or more from Title I schools may apply for admission discounts through the Museum's donor-funded "Everybody Tours" program. UT-Battelle, The Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville, the Anderson County Commission, and Walmart have contributed to this fund. For more information or to apply, call the Museum at 865-494-7680, or visit the website, For Tennessee public schools, the Tennessee Arts Commission's Student Ticket Subsidy Program also offers partial funding for field trips. Visit the commission's website,, for guidelines and application.

The Museum, a non-profit organization, includes some three dozen authentic log buildings, display halls filled with Appalachian artifacts, and gardens and farm animals in a picturesque setting, all surrounded by split-rail fences. The Museum is home to sheep, chickens, guineas, ducks, wild turkeys, and peafowl. Mules, Scottish Highland cattle, and "fainting" goats roam adjacent pastures. In springtime, children will be delighted to see newborn lambs, goats, and chicks.

Published March 8, 2011

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