With the Rural Heritage Museum at Mars Hill University closed to in-person visits, the museum has taken its newest exhibit to the virtual world. “Opening the Door to Change: Educating Rural Appalachia” is viewable at https://tourwizard.net/ruralheritagemuseum/, where visitors can experience the exhibit in a free online representation of the physical museum.
The exhibition explores the history of education in Western North Carolina, with a particular emphasis on Madison County, from the mid-19th through the late 20th century. It reveals how learning has taken many forms, from in-home instruction, common, subscription, and religious schools, to colleges of farming and craft. The curriculum of these schools, as well as their very construction, and in some cases closing, was deeply entwined with the changing needs and values of the Western North Carolina Appalachian community.The exhibition focuses on the dynamic relationship between community values and education, with a special focus on how students and their families navigated the economic, geographic, and racial challenges to education. Trends and changes in curriculum, assessment, and classroom design also are explored.
This virtual exhibition features didactic panels showcasing a survey of schools within the region, highlighting the effect community values had on the curriculum, function, and format of these institutions. Online visitors may view an original film, produced by the museum, that presents the oral histories of several Madison County residents who share their personal recollections and memories of past school days.
Additional films viewable in the virtual tour spotlight the historic Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School and the Laurel School, with first-hand accounts from former students and teachers.
This exhibition and the virtual tour are sponsored by the Madison County Tourism and Development Authority.
For more information, contact museum director Les Reker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Mars Hill University:
Mars Hill University is a premier private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees, as well as master’s degrees in criminal justice, elementary education, teaching, and management. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina. The university’s Asheville Center for Adult and Graduate Studies is located on Airport Road in Arden.