One should visit the Museum of Appalachia on a pretty day, because--while it includes a few of the more standard-type, display buildings--it includes, also, many authentic, log structures (like the family home of Mark Twain!) that are set up as a historic, Appalachian village surrounded by farm animals and gardens.
The outside portion of the museum lends much to its very rich, overall experience of Appalachian culture. I have to admit, though, that I enjoyed most some of the indoor offerings: the collection of folk art on the top floor of the Display Barn, for example. I find myself increasingly fascinated by the art of common folk, especially those who have received no formal training. I'm amazed by the lengths to which a person will go to express himself or herself creatively, how (s)he will self-teach, how (s)he will make something out of little to nothing.*
I particularly enjoyed the Harrison Mayes collection in the People's Building, also. If you've been reading here for any amount of time, you know I've developed a true appreciation for roadside America. Mayes, a Kentucky native, fulfilled a near-death promise to God by making signs (including large, concrete crosses) and erecting them as far and wide as possible; he had a planetary, aviatic, evangelistic goal (as indicated by the initials P.A.E. that he inscribed mysteriously on much of his work).
Following are some of the photos (some edited, some not) that I took while visiting the Museum of Appalachia. I hope you enjoy them!
|Mark Twain and Clementine|
|Irwin's Chapel Log Church Est. 1840|
|Signing a Prayer Request for Her Mamaw inside the Church|
|Harrison Mayes Sign|
|The outside and inside of a box that Harrison Mayes hung beside a door to his home.|
*I had the opportunity to visit the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, recently. I planned to blog about it but never did: probably because photography is mostly prohibited at AVAM (I wanted to cry!), and I came away with few images. But AVAM is a showcase for the art of self-taught, little-known people. Each artist's story is included carefully with his or her work. I've never enjoyed a museum more and can't recommend it highly enough if you're in the Baltimore area.