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The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Tennessee and Beyond.

August 23, 2021
Courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives


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From 1933 to 1942 thousands of men across Tennessee created some of our most treasured outdoor places like our Tennessee State Parks and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. These men were part of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal-era program to employ and train young men to complete projects in support of the environment and conservation. Across our state and country, the impact of this program can still be seen today.

In this episode of River Talks, we talk with Matthew Gailani and Amanda McCrary Smith from the Tennessee State Museum. Matthew is a museum curator and Amanda is the curator of Textiles and Fashion. Together they share the history and impacts of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Tennessee and beyond. Finally, we will share how history may be repeating itself with the Civilian Climate Corps.

About the Tennessee State Museum

The mission of the Tennessee State Museum is to procure, preserve, exhibit, and interpret objects which relate to the social, political, economic, and cultural history of Tennessee and Tennesseans, and to provide exhibitions and programs for the educational and cultural enrichment of the citizens of the state.

In this episode of River Talks, we are joined by two curators from the Museum. Matthew Gailani is a Museum Curator and Amanda McCrary Smith is the Curator of Textiles and Fashion.

The Tennessee State Museum is free and open to the public six days a week. Learn more at their website.

In this podcast:

  • What was the Civilian Conservation Corps?
  • Why was it created and what was happening at the time of its creation? 
  • Who was enrolled in the CCC?
  • What were the short and long-term impacts of the CCC?
  • How was the CCC perceived by the public when it was active?
  • What were some of the criticisms of the CCC at the time and today? 
  • Examples of national and state projects done by the CCC.
  • Family stories from our guests about the impact of the CCC in their lives.
  • How the CCC is being reimagined as the Civilian Climate Corps.
Learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode:
Civilian Conservation Corps hiking club“, RG 93 Civilian Conservation Corps, RG 93, 35405, Tennessee State Library and Archives