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Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall

hall front

The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall (MBMSH), a 14,000-square-foot public facility and cornerstone of the International Storytelling Center (ISC) campus, sits in the heart of downtown historic Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town and storytelling capital of the world.  Designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects of New York City, the facility plays host to many of ISC’s storytelling programs as well numerous business meetings, seminars, and receptions.  It houses four primary indoor spaces – the Gift Shop at ISC, the Krispy Kreme Storytelling Theater, the Sara Hickey Keys Parlor, and the Library. Take a virtual tour of the facility.

The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

In 2009, the Hall was dedicated in honor of Mary B. Martin and in appreciation of her husband, James C. Martin, and his continuing support of the International Storytelling Center.  Mary, a lifelong resident of the area, enjoyed life to the fullest and loved to tell a good story.

The Storytelling Park

The International Storytelling Center’s three-acre Storytelling Park provides walking trails, forested nooks and crannies, and beautiful gardens with grassy areas for weddings, reunions, performances, presentations, and picnicking. The Park accompanies the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall and the historic Chester Inn in comprising ISC’s campus.


The Courtyard, a gracious and inviting outdoor space behind the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, is a large, enclosed outdoor room popular for parties, receptions, and other events.  The bricked area is privately located and accessible through the Sara Hickey Keys Parlor of the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall or by way of an outdoor stone staircase.

The Library

The Library, one of four primary indoor public spaces in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, is the perfect venue for meetings, small conferences, and receptions.  The large one-level floor plan is complemented by floor-to-ceiling windows with picturesque views of Main Street and the Town square. 

The Storytelling Center Gift Shop

ISC Gift Shop

Gift Shop Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

The International Storytelling Center Gift Shop is located in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall within the heart of historic Jonesborough.  Offerings include a unique selection of storytelling books, journals, CDs, and other resources. The gift shop also features unique and handmade items including artwork, bath products, ceramics, garden accessories, housewares, wood and paper products, fabric and pottery, stationery, and toys for children of all ages.

Don’t forget to pick up a keepsake of your trip to ISC from our line of souvenir items! Shop for t-shirts, blankets, hand puppets, books, candles, mugs, and more!

Visit our online gift shop.

Krispy Kreme Storytelling Theater

Enjoy the magic of performance storytelling in the Krispy Kreme Storytelling Theater, located inside the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall.  This intimate 95-seat theater plays host to Storytelling Live!, the International Storytelling Center’s teller-in-residence series, special performances during the National Storytelling Festival, as well as numerous other performances and lectures.

Sara Hickey Keys Parlor

Located on the second floor of the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, the spacious light-filled Sara Hickey Keys Parlor is a popular venue for meetings, weddings, and other special events.  Overlooking the heart of downtown Jonesborough, the space opens to a large balcony that welcomes the sights and sounds of the town.  The Parlor is named in honor of Sara Hickey Keys and other teachers around the world who have enriched the lives of children.