WETS-FM’s Wayne Winkler to speak as part of Reece Museum Grand Reopening


JOHNSON CITY (November 5, 2013) – “The Melungeons: Sons and Daughters of the Legend” will be the topic of a free public lecture by Wayne Winkler at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum  on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at noon.

His talk will conclude the Reece Museum’s Grand Reopening celebration (Nov. 8-13), which will also include “Treasures of the Reece 2013: Artifacts from the New World,” a behind-the-scenes exhibit preview and fundraiser, on Friday, Nov. 8, from 6-9 p.m.; a Community Day with art demonstrations, storytelling and music on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; and a reception and unveiling of the museum’s annual Poinsettia Tree in the Burgin Dossett Hall administration building on Nov. 12.

Winkler’s presentation will include a brief history of the Melungeons and answer some questions about the Melungeons, a population of undetermined origin first documented in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in the early 19th century.  He points out that they are thought by many researchers to be “tri-racial isolates,” a mixture of African, European and Native American ancestry.

The backdrop of Winkler’s talk will be the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, “IndiVisible: African Native-American Lives in the Americas,” which opens during the “Treasures of the Reece” event on Nov. 8 and continues through Jan. 4, 2014.

Winkler, director of WETS-FM/HD, ETSU’s public radio station, is the author of “Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia.”  He frequently lectures about the Melungeons to academic and civic groups around the country.  He has also appeared in film and both national and international television projects about the Melungeons, including the History Channel.

Winkler produced a radio documentary about the Melungeons in 1999 that was heard across the nation and won a Silver Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters in 2000.

For more information, contact Theresa Hammons, Reece Museum director, at (423) 439-4392 or emailing .  For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346 by Thursday, Nov. 7; accommodation requests after this date cannot be guaranteed.

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