Cultural museum collection finds permanent homes
by Anna Oakes
The process of finding new homes for the collection began in spring 2011, shortly after Appalachian State University announced it would not reopen the museum. The museum opened in 1989, but closed in 2006 to become the location for ASU’s new Institute for Health and Human Services.
The ASU Collections Committee worked for a year to assess and catalog every item in the collection and return objects that were loaned to the museum. In March, the committee hosted an open house for nonprofit organizations interested in applying for the remaining items.
Neva Specht, chairwoman of the Collections Committee, said decisions on which organizations would receive items were finalized in May, and most items were delivered to the organizations in June.
A number of items remain at ASU. A collection of Native American artifacts — with more than 17,000 arrowheads — went to ASU’s Department of Anthropology for research and teaching, Specht said.
About 250 self-portraits in The Artine & Teddy Artinian Collection are now part of the Permanent Collection at ASU Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. A moonshine still went to ASU’s new fermentation sciences program to be used for instruction.
About 30 objects went to the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection at ASU’s Belk Library. These objects — including a model of the old NASA wind turbine on Howard’s Knob and a can from the kraut factory once located in Boone — have close connections to the university or the town of Boone and will be displayed in exhibits prepared by public history students.
“They’ll be placed around different places on campus over the next couple of years,” said Specht.
Watauga High School was among the 20 organizations that received museum items, including prints by artist Joe Seme, pottery, memorabilia from the Land of Oz theme park on Beech Mountain open during the 1970s and an antique ice cream freezer, among other pieces. WHS Media Specialist Trudy Moss said the items will be displayed in the school’s library.
The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History received a pre-Civil War fiddle and a banjo with a gourd base, blacksmith tools, period hats, leather goods, a model train and Land of Oz memorabilia.
“It is always disappointing when a cultural institution, especially a museum, is forced to close its doors, but the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is very proud to utilize many artifacts that will continue to tell the story of Appalachian culture,” said Curator of Collections Amy Snyder in a newsletter article.
The Horne Creek Historical Farm in Surry County, a state historic site, received quilts, a toy collection, china and clothing. The items will be used in the organization’s effort to restore a 1900-10-era farm. Some quilts from the 1940s will be used in the organization’s fabric and textile festival, which displays 150 years of quilts, said Director Lisa Turney.
The Historic Carson House in Marion received model wooden stills, a tobacco twist, a sweet grass basket with lid, bedspreads, a slat back chair and other textiles. The Carl Sandburg Home, a national historic site, received a zither once owned by the Sandburg family.