Thursday, July 16, 2009

People, its about the people

"I hold a strong conviction that the true breed of diminishing mountain folk of Southern Appalachia are among the most admirable people in the world. They are kind, gentle and compassionate, yet tough and resourceful," said John Rice Irwin, who founded the Museum of Appalachia, a Living Mountain Village in Norris, TN. 
Irwin began collecting history, artifacts with human touch, when he was young. His grandfather told him to "start a museum of these old-timey things". His grandfather has an appreciation for his ancestors and an eclectic assortment of primitive items from three or four generations back. 
"If you need something, what do you do?" asked Irwin of us. Looking around the dinner table at our faces, he explains, "With our parents and grandparents, they made the things, tools and resources they need. Today people just think about where to go to buy what they need."
According to Irwin, each generation is loosing more and more of their history, not even connecting with their ancestors. 
This unique living museum offers a respite for many. Stepping back in time, maybe a few dozen years or more than a hundred, depending on your history lesson. Irwin, a former School Superintendent, would spend weekends driving around several counties, meeting people, getting to know them and if they had something from the past, something he felt would tell a story, their story, he would offer to buy it from them. Irwin didn't want anything that he didn't know who it belonged to and the connection.
(more soon) 

1 comment:

CDinWV said...

I truly admired this. I have never visited the Museum but would love to. It's all about the people.Enjoyed it and your other adventures too. Thanks for sharing~