Behind the Scenes

Take a look Behind the Scenes at the Appalachian Women’s Museum (AWM). Road construction and the COVID-19 pandemic kept AWM from opening our doors to the public this season for both events and our usual Saturday openings. Since visitors cannot come to us for a while, take a virtual look at how AWM has continued our efforts in 2020 and 2021.

We have:

    • Digitized our archiving process
    • Reclaimed a weed patch as a victory garden
    • Prepared our exhibit plan for the whole house
    • Drafted a site map of our buildings
    • Re-roofed the house
    • Provided running water to our back door
    • Connected with seniors in local care centers

See for yourself some of the work and people that make this museum possible.

Airing of the Quilts with Cheryl and Sharon

Cheryl Beck lives in Macon County, NC and is a former member of the Appalachian Women’s Museum board. She brought our Airing of the Quilts event to life during her time on the board. We now hold the event in April or early May and invite talented crafters in the area to show off their colorful work.

Music Room with Rob

Dr. Robert Ferguson, WCU Professor of History and board Secretary, has an active interest in Appalachian music. Rob plans to create a turn of the century Music Parlor that showcases the music Appalachia women. The Music Parlor will feature local names such as Samantha Bumgarner and Mary Jane Queen, along with other artists from across Appalachia. Local musician Susan Pepper joins Rob in a discussion of Appalachian music and instruments in this Behind the Scenes feature. See Susan’s full performance in our Mountain Life segment by clicking here. Also look for our Music on the Porch event to return in Fall 2021.

Archiving with Marjorie

Marjorie Eyre has been active on our board since 2014. She stepped up to the challenge and taught herself how to archive, then coordinated volunteers to put labels on our collection items. She believes that archiving and preserving these items for future generations is important to show a glimpse of what life was like and the uniqueness of the region.

Community Outreach with Claire

Claire Suminski, board members since 2019 is from Franklin, NC. Claire realized when the pandemic forced care facilities into strict lock down that many seniors in care centers were isolated since friends and family members could no longer visit them. Claire and board member, Marty Greeble, put together “Sunshine Packets” filled with entertaining jokes, games, and more for residents to enjoy.

Pen Pals with Seniors

To continue contact with the care center residents Claire and Marty instituted a pen pal program to demonstrate that people do care about them. Claire welcomes community participation in the pen pal program, if you would like to get involved please email us at to get a pen pal contact.

Site Committee with Loran Berg

Loran Berg discusses what our site committee does: evaluating, interpreting, and making recommendations for the buildings on the Monteith Farmstead.

Internship with J’dah and Jesse

The AWM has a close working relationship with Western Carolina University. For the past 12 years the Public History Program at WCU has regularly placed interns with the AWM. J’dah is one of our 2020  interns and is sharing  her role in the creation of our music exhibit.

Victory Garden with Mckenzie Arrington

Mckenzie Arrington is one of AWM’s part-time staff and serves the board as the executive assistant. In the spring of 2020 Mckenzie played an important role in getting our garden started and maintained. In this video she shares her experience creating the Victory Garden during COVID-19.   (Victory Gardens, also called  “food gardens for defense”, were gardens planted both at private residences and on public land during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort).

The Monteith Farmstead to the Appalachian Women’s Museum

Aerial Video of the Museum’s past progress

This video from 2016 shows the newly restored, 1,500 ft. wrap-around porch …  in Spring of 2017 a large majority of the exterior painting was completed. In 2020  the museum got a new roof.