Loyal Jones Appalachian Center

Exhibit: “Made in Appalachia: Exploring Appalachian Material Culture Beyond Cabins, Crafts, and Coal”

Posted on by Christopher Miller

Banner for Exhibit, Made in Appalachia: Exploring Appalachian Material Culture Beyond Cabins, Crafts, and Coal

Title: Made in Appalachia: Exploring Appalachian Material Culture Beyond Cabins, Crafts, and Coal

Dates Showing: September 2, 2013 through June 30, 2015

Description: This exhibition explores Appalachian material culture beyond the artifacts stereotypically associated with the region.  It is part of a larger multi-year project  expanding and diversifying our ideas about Appalachian material culture and diversifying our Appalachian Studies Teaching Collection of Artifacts.  This exhibit uses products of the region as an entrée to expanded ideas about the region and its people, including:

  • Salt from the West Virginia salines,
  • Cast iron from eastern Kentucky,
  • Ethylene glycol anti-freeze from the Chemical Valley,
  • The Kodak film emulsion and acetate substrate,
  • The acetate fibers and fabrics used in women’s clothing,
  • Glass marbles, bottles, and volume production art glass,
  • Mass produced restaurant and hotel china,
  • Kodel polyester fabrics,
  • Early Tenite plastic housewares,
  • Aluminum siding, housewares, and beverage cans,
  • Uranium and plutonium for the first atomic bombs,
  • Carpet and tufted bedspreads from north Georgia,
  • Bottled Coca Cola
  • Manufacture of soda bottles and crates,
  • and dozens of other items.

In the exhibit you can see these items and read the stories of their connection to Appalachia.  Exploring this array of artifacts helps open up our ideas about who has lived and worked in Appalachia.  One encounters slaves who worked in the salt and iron furnaces, Flemish and French immigrants glass workers, freed African-Americans who provided the “cheap labor” in steel mills, Eastern European factory workers, child labor, migrants from rural Appalachian and the Deep South, and the “Hillbilly Girls” who made uranium for the first atomic bombs.

Click here to visit the online version of the exhibit.

Curators: College Curator Christopher Miller and Student Curatorial Associate Joey Shepherd.  The online version also involved Student Curatorial Assistant Caroline Hughes.  The project registrar was Student Curatorial Associate Matt Heil.

Location: Appalachian Center Gallery Display Cases, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Stephenson Hall, Berea College, 211 N. Main Street, Berea, Kentucky

Display Case Number 5 in the Appalachian Center Gallery showing artifacts from the chemical and plastic industry in Appalachia


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