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Grant number like: PY-253110-17

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Appalshop, Inc. (Whitesburg, KY 41858-0743)
Caroline Rubens (Project Director: May 2016 to October 2021)
The Hills Remember: Preserving Heritage in an Appalachian Coal Community

A two-day digitization event at the Mountain Heritage Festival in Whitesburg, Kentucky, to document the community’s photographs, artwork, objects, and artifacts and preserve the Appalachian region’s historical record during a period of socio-economic transition, as communities confront challenges involved in moving beyond traditional lines of livelihood following the cessation of coal production. The applicant would select digitized items to highlight on a curated project web page, augmenting images with description of the project within the context of eastern Kentucky’s cultural heritage. To facilitate discussion and build appreciation of local heritage and cultural stewardship, the applicant would organize two additional public events: a “Home Movie Day” during which newly digitized film and video would be screened to the public and a culminating project ”showcase” at the applicant’s 2018 Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival.

Building on a sense of place that is deeper than its Appalachian coal seams while confronting the limits of a fossil fuel based economy, Letcher County, Kentucky, is in a moment of transition. The proposed project will build upon local efforts to increase sense of agency and appreciation for the community's heritage and assets. It will result in the digitization of vernacular photographic materials, artwork and  3-Dimensional objects, historical paper records and audiovisual materials provided by members of the public and gathered as a result of community engagement, public programming, and digitization events. By catalyzing the area's cultural assets, the project will increase local capacity through activities that safeguard and celebrate both the archival materials collected and the wellspring of community expression and traditions.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Folklore and Folklife; Public History

Common Heritage

Preservation and Access

$12,000 (approved)
$12,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 6/30/2018