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Dolly Parton’s life has inspired movies, dinner theaters, a theme park, and now…a college course! The world’s most famous Smoky Mountain native has been honored with her very own class at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, which is located less than an hour from Sevier County.
The new history course is called “Dolly’s America: From Sevierville to the World”. According to the University of Tennessee website, the class examines “how a ‘hillbilly’ girl from Appalachia grew up to become an international one-word sensation”. Students will read Dolly Parton’s autobiography and watch TV shows and movies related to Appalachia, such as The Beverly Hillbillies and Coal Miner’s Daughter. At the end of the course, each student will write a paper answering the question, “What was Dolly Parton’s America?”.
Dolly Parton, who is a prominent advocate for education and literacy, voiced her support for the course on Twitter:
From the girl voted in High School ‘least likely to succeed’ this sure is a blessing! https://t.co/3EnB8ixB4f
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) April 10, 2017
“From the girl voted in High School ‘least likely to succeed’ this sure is a blessing!”
How to Create Your Own “Dolly Parton Class” in the Smoky Mountains
Although the “Dolly’s America” course is only open to students enrolled at the University of Tennessee, there are plenty of opportunities learn about Dolly Parton’s life and career during your vacation in Pigeon Forge! Here are a few places you can visit in the Smokies to create your very own “class” about Dolly:
The Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood
A visit to the Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood might be even better than taking a semester-long class on Dolly Parton! This interactive museum is overflowing with artifacts and memorabilia related to Dolly’s music, movies, and personal life.
Highlights of the museum include:
- Handwritten lyrics for some of Dolly’s biggest songs
- Dolly’s costumes from the movies 9 to 5, Steel Magnolias, Straight Talk, and Rhinestone
- Outfits and gowns that Dolly has worn on stage and at various award shows
- A two-story display of Dolly’s Grammy awards, CMA awards, and other honors
- A replica of Dolly’s childhood home with recreations of her handmade dolls.
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures
Visitors to Pigeon Forge now have the chance to learn all about Dolly Parton’s family at a brand new dinner show! Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures tells a never-before-seen story about the Parton clan before Dolly was born. In particular, the show focuses on Dolly’s parents, Robert and Avie Lee, who many fans have gotten to know through NBC’s Coat of Many Colors movies. During the show, guests will enjoy some delicious Southern cooking inspired by the food Dolly grew up eating.
New Exhibit About the Dolly Parton Statue
2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the unveiling of the famous statue of Dolly Parton in front of the Sevier County Courthouse. To mark the occasion, Sevierville is hosting a special exhibit all about the creation of the statue called 30: Celebrating Dolly in Bronze. Running until the end of December, this wonderful exhibit includes a bronze bust of Dolly’s head, other artifacts from the artist’s studio, and personal letters and stories from Dolly herself. The exhibit is open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.
If you want to get a jump on your Dolly Parton education, check out our exclusive video interview with the Queen of Country!