News & Events
MHC To Host Smithsonian Exhibition
The North Carolina Humanities Council has announced that Mars Hill College will be one of six sites across the state that will host Museum on Main Street, a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in 2010.
New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music offers rural communities access to first-rate exhibits from the Smithsonian and gives North Carolina the opportunity to collect and showcase its distinct musical traditions, sacred, and secular.
Each site hosts the exhibition for approximately six weeks. Sites for the 2010 New Harmonies tour include
- Mount Airy Museum of Regional History (March-April)
- Warren County Memorial Library in Warrenton (May-June)
- The Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City (June-July)
- The Arts Council of Wayne County in Goldsboro (August-September)
- Mars Hill College Rural Life Museum (September-November)
- The Don Gibson Theater in Shelby (November-January)
“With New Harmonies, our state can flex its musical muscle,” says Humanities Council’s Darrell Stover, Statewide Coordinator of MoMS. “North Carolina is rich in musical heritage – old-time rockabilly, jazz, Piedmont blues, traditional gospel, hip hop, bluegrass much more – even auctioneering is song. We have it all, and New Harmonies allows us to put our unique musical legacy on brilliant display.”
The exhibit at Mars Hill College will be coordinated through the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies, in partnership with the Big Ivy Community Center, the Big Ivy Historical Society, the Wolf Laurel Historical Society, and the Dry Ridge Historical Museum. Dr. Karen Paar, Director of Ramsey Center, said: “We in the Ramsey Center are very excited about the opportunity to host the ‘New Harmonies’ exhibition. We look forward to working with other groups in our community to promote this wonderful exhibition and to plan related events that celebrate our region’s rich musical tradition.”
According to Paar, the ‘New Harmonies’ exhibit will come to Mars Hill at a particularly appropriate time. In 2010, the planned focus for the Ramsey Center programming and archival work is the Bascom Lamar Lunsford collection. The collection, which includes the personal notes, handwritten music, and instruments of the famous Appalachian folklorist and musician, is a perfect complement to the Smithsonian exhibit.
“The opportunity to host ‘New Harmonies’ could not come at a better time for us,” Paar said.
New Harmonies features interactive kiosks devoted to American music genres such as blues, country western, folk, and gospel music. Kiosks display instruments as varied as fiddles and banjos, accordions and drums, vintage sheet music, and program bills. A listening station provides an immediate opportunity to experience the music firsthand. In addition, each host site will develop programming and activities to complement the exhibit—lectures, films, and performances, oral histories, and photo essays about home-grown musicians and local musical traditions.
Museum on Main Street is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress. Learn more about MoMS and the North Carolina Humanities Council at www.museumonmainstreet.org and www.nchumanities.org.