Opening the Door to Change presents the history of education in Western North Carolina, with a particular emphasis on Madison County, from the mid-nineteenth century through the late twentieth. Here, learning has taken many forms, from in-home instruction, common, subscription, and religious schools, to colleges of farming and craft. The curriculum of these schools, as well as their very construction, and in some cases closing, was deeply entwined with the changing needs and values of the Western North Carolina Appalachian community.
The exhibition focuses on the dynamic relationship between community values and education, with a special focus on how students and their families navigated the economic, geographic, and racial challenges to education. Trends and changes in curriculum, assessment, and classroom design will also be explored.
The virtual exhibition will feature didactic panels showcasing a survey of schools within Madison County and highlighting the effect community values had on the curriculum, function, and format of these institutions. Online visitors may also get a sneak-peak at an original film, produced by the Museum, presenting the oral histories of several Madison County residents sharing their personal recollections and memories of past school-days.
Additional films will spotlight the Historic Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School and Laurel School, with first-hand accounts from former students and teachers.
This virtual exhibition is sponsored by the Madison County Tourism and Development Authority.