Exhibit focuses on artifact donors
This article features an event that occurred in the past.
“Collecting for the Community,” a new exhibit at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center, focuses on the museum’s collection of artifacts and the contributors from across the region who made it possible.
The exhibit opens Thursday, June 7, and will be available for public viewing in the museum’s gallery B through Friday, Aug. 17.
“Although the Mountain Heritage Center did not open its doors until 1979, individuals and departments at the university began collecting objects for a museum of Appalachian history and culture as early as the 1920s,” said museum curator Pam Meister. “As the museum’s official opening drew near, its holdings were greatly augmented by generous donations from lifelong private collectors such as Haywood County dairy farmer Albert J. McCracken, whose family contributed McCracken’s collection of 3,000 Native American artifacts, as well as over 500 objects relating to 18th- and 19th-century Southern Appalachian settlers,” she said.
Over the years, the Mountain Heritage Center’s collections have been enriched by numerous gifts from residents of Western North Carolina who have been willing to share their families’ heirlooms and history with the public, Meister said. Those donations range from entire collections, such as late 19th-century household items and photographs from the Axley-Meroney family of Murphy, to single objects like a Catamount mascot costume worn on the WCU campus in the late 1950s. The museum’s collections now total more than 10,000 objects, including artifacts such as prehistoric projectile points, modern Cherokee crafts, logging tools, moonshine stills, quilts, coverlets, saddles and firearms.
The Mountain Heritage Center, open to the public free of charge, is located on the ground floor of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building. Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, but the museum is open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays.
For more information about the Mountain Heritage Center’s programs, exhibits and special Saturday hours, call 828-227-7129 or visit www.wcu.edu/mhc.