Artifact Collections in the LJAC
The Appalachian Studies Artifacts Teaching Collection supports teaching and research in a variety of disciplines. The collection is used in courses, in exhibits, and for individual research projects. Portions of the collection are always on exhibit in the Appalachian Center Gallery. Teachers, students, and researchers can access the collection through the curator. Online guides to the collection are available. Only objects are held in the Center. Papers, documents, books, and photographs are held in the Hutchins Library’s Special Collections and Archives.
Using Our Artifact Collections
Priority is given to supporting Berea College courses, faculty and student research, and other academic projects. We do loan to other institutions, but only for short terms. Use our online resources linked above to explore the collections. Specific requests for course-use, study, or loans should be made through the curator, Christopher Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-985-3373
Berea College faculty, courses and individual students can work with the collections in a variety of modes. The curator has many well-designed course sessions for encounters with objects, which can be led by the curator, the faculty member, or both. Such encounters can be applicable in a wide variety of disciplines and have been used in such courses as GSTR, APS, ENG, COM, MAT, TAD, SOC, HIS, and CFS. Learning from material culture encounters is central. Appalachian Studies content in not required. Faculty and students can also borrow artifacts and we even deliver to your office or classroom.
Artifact Collections Mission/Philosophy
The LJAC holds teaching collections of artifacts and specimens to support diverse modes of teaching and study. Our collections are multi-disciplinary following the area of Appalachian Studies. Our management practices are driven by our commitment to a teaching collection emphasizing access and rich encounters with objects as a mode of learning. Our vision is a true multi-disciplinary collections that supports all facets of Appalachian Studies teaching and scholarship.
Our Current Collecting of Artifacts
We are actively developing our collections. We seek objects, contemporary and historical, that will help us to better support teaching and research in Appalachian Studies. Topics of special interest include stereotypes of mountain people, the hillbilly stereotype, the urban Appalachian experience, migration of Appalachian people, industrial development, infrastructure development, the Dixie Highway in Appalachia, coal camp life, Appalachia in World War II, the Cherokee experience in Appalachia, and personal equipment from coal miners. We are also interested in strengthening our already strong collections in Appalachian musical instruments, especially dulcimers, Appalachian textiles, especially quilts and coverlets, Appalachian ceramics, and Appalachian basket traditions.
Donations of Artifacts to the Collection
We gratefully accept donations of artifacts that support our collections purposes and goals. If you are interesting in donating artifacts, please see our document: Information for Prospective Artifact Donors, then contact the curator, Christopher Miller at email@example.com or 859-985-3373.
History and Development of Our Artifact Collections
The artifact collections of the LJAC represent over 100 years of collecting at Berea College. Some early Bereans, such as Professor Silas Mason, Professor James Watt Raine, and College President William G. Frost, collected objects from the culture around them as they did their work, some as early as the mid-1890s. Berea’s early craft programs, such as Fireside Weaving, gathered samples of regional craft traditions as patterns and inspiration. In 1914 the College Library began a special collection of published Appalachian materials. Photographs, archival, and curio collections related to the region soon followed. Various college celebrations, such as the 1955 Centennial, resulted in collections of artifacts being assembled for reflection.
The mid-1960s were the watershed time for systematically maintaining artifact collections at Berea. In 1962 the Edna Lynn Simms Mountaineer Museum Collection was given to Berea College by Simms’ estate. Simms had collected nearly 2,000 artifacts from around the Great Smoky Mountains for her Mountaineer Museum in Gatlinburg (ca. 1925-55). Receipt of this collection led the College to create the Appalachian Museum, which opened to the public in 1971. The Museum became the catalyst for gathering of all of the College’s Appalachian artifact collections together into one place. In the early 1990s the collecting mission was extended to include Berea College historical artifacts also.
In the mid-1990s Berea’s strategic planning process recommended closure of the Appalachian Museum and began the transition to a teaching collection model. The collection came under the stewardship of the LJAC and supports our mission of teaching about Appalachia at Berea and beyond. In a typical year twenty course sessions, several hundred students, will have encounters of artifacts. And public exhibits, in the LJAC Gallery, are a major part of the LJAC educational program.