By Martha Erwin
The 40th season of the Unicoi County Heritage Museum and the 11th season of the Clinchfield Railway Museum will soon close for the season on Sunday, October 30.
After four decades, the Heritage Museum continues to be dedicated to promoting the preservation of county and hometown heritage. Apparently, visitors are delighted to discover the availability of guided tours with first-hand information.
Despite gas increases and the still-existing COVID-19 pandemic, daily tours are still ongoing. So far the following states have been represented this season as follows: Arizona, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New York, Ohio , Caroline from the south. , Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
A free autographed book titled “The Longest Rescue” was donated to the museum’s War Room by Vietnamese POW, Captain (retired) USAF William Andrew Robinson of Lenoir City, Tennessee. This book chronicles Robinson’s captivity beginning on September 20, 1065. Thereafter, Robinson endured 2,703 days in several prison camps and compounds in North Vietnam.
An excerpt from his book says, “No enlisted man in American military history has been held prisoner of war longer than Robinson.”
Robinson was guest speaker at the dedication of the Gold Star Memorial at Erwin City Hall on Friday, June 17, 2022. The event was co-sponsored by Unicoi County Heritage Museum and Charles E. King Sr. American Legion Post 25, Erwin.
Robinson’s book was prominently displayed among the Vietnam Museum’s memorabilia. Robinson and his wife Ora Mae are loyal supporters of museums.
Plan a day trip to both museums. It is for sure, a must-see destination. The museums are open from May to the first week of October. The rest of October, the museums are only open on weekends, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Martha Erwin is curator of the Unicoi County Heritage Museum and the Clinchfield Railway Museum.