Chester Inn Museum
Chester Inn – Located in the heart of downtown Jonesborough, the Chester Inn Museum chronicles the history of Jonesborough from its inception in 1779 to the present. The museum is located on the street level of the oldest commercial building in town. Dr. William Chester built his Inn on the Stage Road in Jonesborough in 1797, where it quickly became “the finest Inn on the Western Frontier.” Through the years, the Chester Inn has had many names including the Bell Tavern, the Union Hotel, the Planters’ House and the Jonesborough Inn. In the late 1940’s the Inn was converted to apartments. The State of Tennessee purchased the historic site in 1989 and restored the building to its 1880-1890 facade in keeping with its signature projecting porch. The museum opened in late 2011.
Exhibits include information on the State of Franklin, a diorama of Jonesborough in the 1850s, the history of the Chester Inn, and much more. We rotate exhibits quarterly, so make sure you check back to see what’s on display! Many of the exhibits feature Jonesborough’s extensive collection of photographs. The upstairs parlor, dining, and lodging rooms of the Chester Inn, restored to the Victorian era style of the late 1800s, are also open for viewing. Kids’ activities include a museum scavenger hunt, a coloring book that features some of Jonesborough’s historic buildings, and a primary source activity with the cholera epidemic of 1873. This project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee and operated by the Heritage Alliance.
The first exhibit is “Black in Appalachia: African American History in Kingsport,” a travelling exhibit on loan from the Kingsport Archives. They partnered with the group Black in Appalachia to compile a 10-panel exhibit covering five different aspects of African American life in Kingsport. The exhibit explores the roles that community leaders and organizations played in shaping the African American experience in the city. It will be on display through July 4th.
The second exhibit is “From Here to There: A Brief History of Transportation in Jonesborough.” This exhibit features archival photographs and artifacts relating to the different eras of transportation throughout Jonesborough’s history. It traces the evolution of travel from horse and carriage through railroad and automobile and explores the impact that road, railroad, and air travel had on the area.
- 116 West Main Street
- January - February by appointment only
March - April - Mon and Fri - Sat 11 am-6 pm and Sun 1 pm - 5 pm
May - Oct - Mon and Wed - Sat 11 am - 6 pm and Sun 1 pm - 5 pm
Nov - Dec - Mon and Fri - Sat 11 am-6 pm and Sun 1 pm-5 pm
- 19 Apr 2016