Recently acquired objects from the McClung Museum’s arts and culture collection—many of which have never before been displayed publicly—will be the focus of a new exhibition, Debut: Recent Acquisitions, opening at the museum on June 14.

The exhibition, featuring a diverse sampling of new acquisitions ranging from Mexican ceramics to contemporary American art, illuminates the process of acquiring, preserving, and restoring one-of-a-kind objects and artworks.

“Museums exhibit only about 7 percent of their collections,” said Adriane Tafoya, registrar and collections manager. “This exhibition demonstrates the continuous behind-the-scenes work done to archive local artistic history and to build the university’s unique collection by acquiring art from throughout the world.”

Included in the exhibition are rare objects, including the first board game widely published in the US, The Mansion of Happiness—a Victorian morality game that penalizes players for landing on spaces representing vices such as cheating or drunkenness.

Also featured are antique textiles from famous weaving villages in Guatemala, which were specially conserved for display, and a recently acquired study painting of Knoxville artist Lloyd Branson’s Weeping Magdalene, which the museum already had in its collection. The painting, as with most of the McClung Museum’s holdings, was acquired through the generous support of the museum’s donors.

“As both a university museum and the only museum in the Southeast focused on global arts, we seek to reflect the diversity of our campus and our educational mission through our collections and exhibitions like Debut,” said Catherine Shteynberg, assistant director and curator of the exhibition. “These treasures underscore the museum’s role as a site for inspiration and pondering our world and its wonder.”

The theme of archiving and preservation continues in several community events geared toward students, families, and the Knoxville community.

On July 18, in partnership with Jupiter Entertainment, the museum will host a screening of 306 Hollywood, which premiered at Sundance in 2018 and follows the journey of two sibling filmmakers as they document the belongings of their late grandmother.

On August 8, the museum will launch a new event series, Preservation Parties, which will teach visitors how to preserve their own memorabilia. The first installation focuses on textile objects and features hands-on demonstrations by UT Special Collections preservationist Amanda Richards.

On August 29, through a partnership with UT Libraries, the museum will host a Game Day centered around The Mansion of Happiness. The original board game will be on display, and participants can play a reproduction of the game.

The museum will host two family programs focused on the exhibit: a stroller tour at 10 a.m. Monday, August 12, and a Family Day from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 24.

The McClung Museum is at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free and the museum’s hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1–5 p.m. Sundays. Groups may schedule tours by calling 865-974-2144 or emailing

Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking information booth at the entrance to Circle Park Drive on weekdays by request. Free parking is available on Circle Park Drive on a first-come, first-served basis on weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is also available Monday through Saturday on the Knoxville Trolley Orange Line.


Zack Plaster (865-974-2144,

Catherine Shteynberg (865-974-6921,