New interpretive specialist enjoying Sycamore Shoals   

By Rozella Hardin
star staff

  Greg Phillipy's job may seem more like play than work, but it actually is work. And, he especially enjoys getting paid for doing it. Phillipy is the new park Interpretive Specialist at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.
  The job is Phillipy's first with Tennessee State Parks, though he has previous park experience. As Interpretive Specialist, Phillipy is in charge of programming, information, and education services at Sycamore Shoals. He also assists Park Manager Jennifer Bauer with regularly scheduled events such as "The Wataugans," the outdoor drama, which will be staged in July, and the Celtic Festival.
  Phillipy is also a blacksmith, and one of his first tasks at the park will be to build a blacksmith shop inside the fort. "I think it will be interesting since it was an 18th century vocation, and is a fading art," he said.
  He holds a bachelor's degree in art from Middle Tennessee State University and a master's degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
  "The two really go together well in my job, especially when you consider the history that surrounds Sycamore Shoals State Park, and the many historical and traditional arts programs that are staged here each year," Phillipy said.
  "We already have a goodly number of programs scheduled, such as the musters, traditional arts workshops, the Last Saturday concerts and Sunday jamming sessions at the Carter Mansion. I am looking to build on these programs. Our plan is to make the Fort a fun place to visit as well as make it a learning experience," he said.
  In addition to building a blacksmith shop inside the fort, Phillipy also plans to build 18th Century furniture for the fort cabins. "They are presently unfurnished, and with my skills I hope to make some furniture, which will make the cabins more habitable," he said.
  Other plans include updating the museum at the park.
  Phillipy, whose office will be at the Carter Mansion, was hired for the position in mid-December. He has been on the job for less than three months. He presently is working with two new interns at the Carter Mansion - Chad Bogart and Jenny Noseworth on the Colonials Kids program. The first of the Friday camps for that program was held this past week.
  "Jenny and Chad are great at what they do, and are an asset to the park. Jenny, as I understand, was here last summer. Chad is the infamous John Carter in 'The Wataugans,'" Phillipy said.
  "Both, Chad and I play the banjo. So, we make a great team, and have a lot of fun together as well as entertaining visitors to the Mansion," he said.
  Having not grown up in East Tennessee, Phillipy is familiarizing himself with local history, especially that of Sycamore Shoals and the Carter Mansion. "I am amazed at how much history took place here. There are so many opportunities to build and expand on in sharing this history, and I'm just happy to be a part of it," he said.
  "I learn something new every day, and especially from the re-enactors who are a big part of our program at the park," he said.
  In the meantime, Phillipy is working hard to make the park as well as the Carter Mansion a "must stop" place on everyone's summer agenda.