View a vast collection of things from the Appalachian region of the U.S.
This museum was founded in 1969 by an avid collector of all things Appalachian, John Rice Irwin. Irwin began his collection by attending an estate sale. After that, he would go door to door to yard sales and auctions collecting things. On occasion, his daughter Elaine would come with him too. Elaine is now the president of the museum, and she loves it.
John Rice Irwin loved this area's rich history and enjoyed collecting and took time to gather all the information that he could about the items. An item in the museum gets the most inquiries; it is a failed experiment called a (would-be) perpetual motion machine. The man that built the device kept it in a cave for 50 years to keep it a secret. He began building it because, during the Civil War, it was said that if someone could make a machine that could do that, the person would be granted one million dollars. Even though it is about the Appalachian people and their history, many people find a connection there and often relate it to their own history.
There is a great restaurant on the grounds as well as a village set up in a way that you can see Appalachia and what it might have been like years ago. They have live music and performers plus blacksmithing, steelwork, and looming demonstrations to safeguard the old ways and teach others about their roots. This interactive museum is open daily from 9 am - 5 pm.