The Governor’s School for Tennessee Heritage began in 1984 as an initiative of the Tennessee Department of Education for talented and gifted high-school juniors and seniors. In the 30 years since, the program has expanded and adapted to the needs and skills of twenty-first century students.

Accordingly, this four-week school was reshaped to emphasize the scientific aspects of Tennessee heritage and to include college credit. The name was appropriately changed to The Governor’s School for Scientific Exploration of Tennessee Heritage, and content now includes three hours of ETSU credit in Tennessee History along with unique field experiences, hands-on activities, and challenging academic opportunities that are not available in the standard high-school or undergraduate curricula. For example, students curate exhibits in the Reece Museum, work with primary materials in the Archives of Appalachia, dig in the Miocene-era fossil pits at the Gray Fossil site, learn pioneer essentials at Valleybrook, and explore major historic preservation sites in Jonesborough (Tennessee’s oldest town), Knoxville, Erwin, and Bristol, TN/VA. These activities make for an experience that is academic, enriching, and fun.