In the Spring semester of 2017, two courses from the University of North Carolina at Asheville partnered with Ramsey Library Special Collections to digitize several historic collections. These projects resulted in four new Western North Carolina history websites complete with interactive programs. Our website for the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival was created by three teams: one team from Dr. Ellen Pearson’s Digital History course and two teams from Dr. Marietta Cameron’s Game Programming course. While the two interactive games on this site are the result of ambitious work by the Game Programming students, the rest of this site is the work of the three historians. These are the website’s creators:
Andrea Hyatt: As a junior History Major, Hyatt had already studied Appalachian history in other courses. During this project, she was investigating Appalachian stereotypes after completing projects on the Eastern Band of Cherokee people. Hyatt was drawn to the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival Collection out of personal interest in the local culture. Hyatt was also considering writing her thesis on Appalachian stereotypes. Her favorite thing about working with this collection was the origins of dance and the unique step-by-step pamphlets found in the archives. If you would like to view the blog she kept during the course, click here!
Ethan Edwards: In Spring 2017, Edwards was a sophomore History major at UNC Asheville. He was drawn to the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival collection because he enjoys the study of folk music. In his personal time, Edwards listens to major folk artists such as Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne. The opportunity to study our nation’s longest running folk festival seemed far more interesting to him than any other collection. Aside from the music, Edwards also appreciated how this festival brought people together to share and enjoy Appalachian culture. If you would like to view the blog he kept during the course, click here!
Catherine Euchner: Before her graduation in May, Catherine Euchner worked on the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival because it was comparable to her topic area; Western North Carolina. While her thesis focused on a different event, she was interested in the festival because the collection also reflected a key aspect of Asheville culture. She found that the festival was a great example of the talent and creativity available in the local population. Euchner believes that Asheville is a unique mountain-town for many reasons, especially the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. If you would like to view the blog she kept during the course, click here!
These students could not have completed this project without extensive help from UNC Asheville’s campus programs. We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the entities listed below for helping create a beautiful and working website. Not only did they make themselves available to students, but through their efforts they have helped to spread knowledge about our favorite summer festival. Thank you!
Special Collections: At UNC Asheville, Ramsey Library houses a department or archives called Special Collections. Here, sensitive and delicate documents are organized and preserved for viewing. The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival collection that is kept in Special Collections was our primary source for the information on this website. The archivists, Gene Hyde and Colin Reeve, were incredibly helpful to our creators during this project. We would like to thank them for all the work they do to save pieces of important history. If you would like to visit the Special Collections website, click here!
Media Labs: One of the unique things about this collection was that it included tape, VHS video, and CD recordings of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival music. As historians, creating a website was out of our traditional training and handling music was even further fetched. Our creators are extremely grateful for the help of Ramsey Library’s Media Design Labs. Sasha Hussey and the student employees in the Lab were so considerate of our challenges. We thank them for an attractive and speedy website. If you would like to visit the Media Design Labs website, click here!
UNC Asheville: Finally, the creators of this website would like to thank UNC Asheville for the opportunity to work with all of these departments and this amazing collection. A special thank you to our professors who guided us through this project. We thoroughly enjoyed this experience and would recommend the class to any future historians. If you would like to investigate UNC Asheville’s website and programs, click here!
If you are interested in viewing the other websites created by this class, they are linked below.
“Welcome to the Office of Financial Aid.” Welcome to the Office of Financial Aid | Financial Aid. Accessed May 04, 2017. https://financialaid.unca.edu/.