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Due to the popularity of this exhibition, it will remain on view through May of 2015. 

This exhibition presented by the Asheville History Center will explore the power, prevalence and persistence of the Appalachian hillbilly stereotype from the late 19th century to the present day.  The exhibit will take a unique approach by focusing on photography featuring the people of the region, some of them stereotypical images, combined with poetry and short prose pieces that question and challenge these stereotypes.  The exhibition will be divided into five sections and will explore issues related to:  Religion, Music, Arts and Crafts, Moonshine and Ignorance/Backwardness.   A number of three-dimensional objects and artifacts reflecting mountain traditions will be shown in the exhibit as well. Hillbilly Land will be on view through December 31, 2014, during regular visitor hours at the Asheville History Center at the Smith McDowell House.
Dr. Dan Pierce, curator of the exhibition said, “I have a love/hate relationship with the Hillbilly stereotype; hating the way that people look at me when they hear my accent, but loving playing the hick, the rube. Using the rich photography and literature of the region, the Hillbilly Land exhibition explores the complex nature of this very old and remarkably resilient image.”
Many of the early photographers in Appalachia came from outside the region and reflect the fascination with the region and the people who live in its coves and hollows.  Early photographers included in the exhibition are Bayard Wootten and Doris Ulmann. Contemporary photographers include Rob Amberg, Tim Barnwell, Don Dudenbostel, Benjamin Porter and Ralph Burns. The writers featured all have deep roots in Western North Carolina.  They include the late Jim Wayne Miller, Fred Chappell, Robert Morgan, Michael McFee, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Ron Rash, Wiley Cash, Wayne Caldwell and Jane Hicks.
Hillbilly Land was curated by Dr. Dan Pierce, Historian and History Department Chair at UNC-Asheville.  Additional research for the exhibition has been contributed by Jim Stokely, son of North Carolina writer, Wilma Dykeman; Gene Hyde, Head of Special Collections and University Archives at UNC Asheville and Erica Locklear, Associate Professor of Literature and Language at UNC Asheville.  Thomas Rash, Dr. Gordon McKinney and Dr. Richard Graham have assisted with the exhibition planning and programming.


The Social Function of Narrative 
in Appalachian Society

presented by 
Ms. Charlotte Ross
Saturday, November 22, 2014
2:00 pm
Manheimer Room - Reuter Center  UNC Asheville Campus
Sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council


The Asheville History Center-Smith McDowell House will present a special lecture and program on the significance of oral and written story telling in Appalachian culture. The presentation will be held in the Manheimer Room of the Reuter Center - UNC Asheville campus on Saturday, November 22, 2014, at 2:00 pm. Free and open to the public, this project is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The presenter, Ms. Ross, is associated with the Road Scholars Project of the Humanities Council.

Charlotte Ross, is an adjunct professor in the Department of Communications at Appalachian State University, and is a freelance folklorist specializing in Appalachian regional culture.  She holds a doctorate in education, completing her coursework in folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania.  She has served as the director of the Appalachian Regional Collection at Appalachian State University.   She was also the director of the Center of Excellence in Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University.  Charlotte has conducted more than 4000 programs on various Appalachian topics.
The Social Function of Narrative in Appalachian Society program is presented in conjunction with the History Center's current exhibition Hillbilly Land:  Myth and Reality of Appalachian Culture now on view at the Smith McDowell House located on the A-B Tech Downtown Campus at 283 Victoria Road in Asheville. Due to the popularity of this exhibition, it will remain on view through May of 2015.
Open to the general public, this program is free to all participants.  For additional information, please call 828-253-9231 or you may send an email to   



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