WILLIAM KING MUSEUM OF ART OPENS BETSY K. WHITE CULTURAL HERITAGE GALLERY
Richmond, VA – The William King Museum of Art in Abingdon held an opening reception yesterday for the Betsy K. White Cultural Heritage Gallery. The exhibit in the new gallery is comprised of objects produced in 19th and early-20th century Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee including ceramics, textiles, woodwork, metalwork, paintings, and more. The gallery will be the flagship asset of the museum’s Cultural Heritage Project (CHP). Initiated in 1994 by longtime museum Director Betsy White, the CHP’s mission is to preserve, promote, and celebrate our region’s legacy of material cultural and decorative arts. To date, the Project has resulted in over thirty exhibitions, a cultural heritage archive that documents the history and provenance of 2000+ cultural heritage items and two scholarly books, Great Road Style (2006, University of VA Press) and Backcountry Makers (2013, University of TN Press).
The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission supported this project with two Southwest Economic Development grants totaling $86,680. The Tobacco Commission has supported the William King Museum with $773,129 in grant funds since 2002.
Tobacco Commission member and Mayor of Abingdon Cathy Lowe said, “The William King Museum is a great asset for our community and I am pleased that the Tobacco Commission chose to support this project. It is important that we preserve the culture and heritage of Southwest Virginia for future generations and this gallery will do just that. We are privileged to have William King Museum in Abingdon to educate the citizens of Southwest Virginia about the history of the Appalachian region we call home”
Tobacco Commission funds have been used to complete renovations of the museum as well as acquisitions to complete the collection and a short film, Along The Great Road, that will introduce visitors to the exhibit. Additionally, the Cultural Heritage Gallery will serve centerpiece for the in-development “Heritage Express” (HE) program, which will bring 4th graders from across the region to learn about state and local history by experiencing the exhibit, completing a hands-on project, and interacting with the museum’s education and curatorial staff. HE will supplement the state of Virginia’s requisite Standards of Learning for 4th graders.
The Tobacco Commission is committed to developing a diverse economy in the areas we serve and tourism is an important part of meeting that goal. This project in particular will enhance Washington County’s ability to attract valuable tourism dollars.
Contact: Jordan Butler
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