The Heritage Alliance in Jonesborough is celebrating a number of staff and program commendations — ones that are particularly sweet considering they honor work done amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 17, the Tennessee Association of Museums recognized Joe Spiker, head docent at the Chester Inn Museum and State Historic Site, and Megan Cullen Tewell, programming coordinator at The Heritage Alliance, with awards of excellence for recent programs and exhibitions.

The Heritage Alliance was also an active participant in the conference. Tewell and Spiker gave a presentation on flexible programming, while Executive Director Anne G’Fellers-Mason moderated several of the sessions, led a roundtable discussion for site directors and other executives, and gave a presentation with the Bristol Public Library and Birthplace of Country Music Museum on collaborations.

Spiker received an Award of Excellence in the AV Film/Documentary Series category for the web series, “With the Victorians.”

The Chester Inn was also recognized in the Temporary Exhibit category for the virtual exhibit, “If You Don’t Watch Out: The Influenza Pandemic in and Around Washington County, September 1918 to February 1919.”

Tewell was commended for her work on the “Homecooked History” web series in the Video/Blog category. “A Taste of Tennessee: A Community Curated Cookbook” also received an award in the Publication category.

The Heritage Alliance is no stranger to commendation, having received numerous awards from TAM in the past. The recent recognitions took on additional meaning and significance this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it created.

The Heritage Alliance staff continues to produce quality programming, materials and experiences that share local history with the community — and now they have the certificates to prove it.

“Homecooked History” and “With the Victorians” are available for viewing on the Chester Inn Museum’s YouTube channel and the virtual flu exhibit is on the Heritage Alliance’s website. To purchase a copy of the ‘Taste of Tennessee’ cookbook, contact The Heritage Alliance at (423) 753-9580 or email

Additional information can also be found online at

The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical and cultural heritage of the region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences. The Chester Inn Museum is a state-owned historic site operated by the Heritage Alliance. The operation of the Chester Inn is partially funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Historical Commission.