Museum to Host Virtual Speaker Series Starting January 12

Join the Conversation with Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (January 7, 2021) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia will premiere a free Virtual Speaker Series this month, and the first installment of the series will feature Paula Johnson, Food History Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) on Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Dr. Rene Rodgers, Head Curator at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, will facilitate the online discussion, and the public is invited to attend.

“We are excited to be kicking off the Virtual Speaker Series in 2021, and we are especially excited to be starting it in January with the National Museum of American HIstory’s Paula Johnson and her focus on food and foodways, a subject that is sure to connect with our community!” said Head Curator Rene Rodgers.”This series is an opportunity for us to host and feature a wide range of speakers and topics – from music history and regional stories to technology and behind-the-scenes work at museums – and will help us to fulfill our educational mission through engaging and interesting programming.”

The conversation will center on the power of food as a lens for exploring history, and participants will learn more about the NMAH’s robust food history offerings. From Julia Child’s home kitchen and programs on food justice to live cooking demonstrations that feature chefs, home cooks, and recipes from regional cuisines across the country, find out how what’s on your plate relates to the many strands of economical, political, technological, and social history.

This program is the first in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum’s monthly Virtual Speaker Series and part of a partnership with the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI). The mission of the initiative is to create, educate, disseminate, and amplify the historical record of the accomplishments of American Women – a diversity of women’s stories that have not been widely shared. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and collaborates with them to bring a wide variety of programming, resources, and special exhibits from the Smithsonian to Bristol that would otherwise not be available in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

Future speakers in the series will include regional musician and WBCM Radio Bristol on-air personality Bailey George, who will discuss the subject of honky tonk women and their music on February 2, and William Isom and Alona Norwood who will talk about the work of Black in Appalachia and the importance of amplifying Black narratives and histories on March 2.

Again, there is no cost to attend the Virtual Speaker Series, but those interested must pre-register online to participate. For more information and to register, click here.

About Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative
In America’s most defining moments – times that shaped constitutional rights, yielded scientific breakthroughs, created symbols of our nation – a diversity of women’s stories has not been widely told. To create a more equitable and just American society, the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) will create, educate, disseminate, and amplify the historical record of the accomplishments of American women. The Smithsonian wants the role of women in American history to be well-known, accurate, acknowledged, and empowering

With a digital-first mission and focus, the initiative uses technology to amplify a diversity of women’s voices – not in one gallery or museum, but throughout the Smithsonian’s many museums, research centers, cultural heritage affiliates, and wherever people are online – reaching millions of people in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the world. For more information about AWHI, visit

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