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BRAHM Announces Fall Exhibit – ‘Common Threads: Five Influential Women and Their Legacies’

Aug. 26, 2014. The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will open its latest exhibit, Common Threads: Five Influential Women and Their Legacies, with a public reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12. The exhibit celebrates the lives of five influential women and their contributions to the High Country over the span of one hundred years.

These five women (listed chronologically) include Emily Prudden, founder of twelve North Carolina schools, including the Skyland Institute in Blowing Rock; Bertha Cone, Moses Cone’s widow who brought continued success to their estate for 39 years after his death; Dr. Mary Martin Sloop, doctor, educator and founder of The Crossnore School; Lucy Morgan, founder of Penland School of Crafts; and Vera Lachmann, Holocaust survivor who founded and directed a camp for boys.

celebrating-strong-womenVisitors to the exhibit will learn about each of these women individually and explore the commonalities that connect them together through educational reform they promoted in the mountains. The exhibition will be on view from Sept. 13 through Jan. 4. 2015.

“We are delighted to display an exhibit highlighting these memorable, exceptional women,” said BRAHM Executive Director Joann Mitchell. “Each of them has created a lasting legacy through their work, and we are honored to share their stories with our community.”

Riddled with arthritis and nearly deaf since her teens, Emily Prudden traveled from her home in Connecticut to the mountains of North Carolina later in life and founded schools for girls when many southerners were still recovering from the plights of the Civil War. Drawing from her own funds, Emily was instrumental in the beginning of twelve schools in North Carolina and three others in South Carolina before turning them over to a missionary organization or local church. Pfeiffer University, which she founded as Oberlin School on nearby Lick Mountain in 1898, is still standing today in Misenheimer, North Carolina.

Flat Top Manor in Blowing Rock became more than just a country estate for the Cone family. After Moses Cone’s death in 1908, the widowed Bertha Cone ran the estate for the remainder of her life, continuing its contributions to employment and innovation, local agriculture, preservation of the land, and education of the children living there. The manor today is recognized as a fully public national park.

While she preferred for her husband to be called “Doctor,” Dr. Mary Martin Sloop is equally deserving of the title. She was a strong Christian leader and educator of her time and founded The Crossnore School to serve mountain children in need. Poverty was prevalent in the early thirties and local families often averaged a dozen children, many of whom lived and studied at the school. Maintaining a strong relationship with the Daughters of the American Revolution, The Crossnore School continues to serve our region today.

After teaching at the Appalachian School in the 1920s, Lucy Morgan led the craft revival in the mountains with the founding of the Penland School of Crafts in 1929. Known then and often referred to today as “Miss Lucy,” she began the Penland Weavers and Potters to provide economic opportunities for women in the local area. Today, Penland encompasses 420 acres and 50 buildings, and more than 1,400 people come each year seeking instruction in a wide variety of artistic practices.

A Holocaust survivor, Vera Lachmann came to the mountains with hopes of creating a sanctuary for Jewish boys. The result, Camp Catawba, served as an educational center that taught campers about classical music, theater and drama, and outdoor recreation (including hiking at the Cone estate). Vera would read tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey to the boys in both Greek and English. While the camp closed in the seventies, its influence continues to echo across the mountains to Germany and around the world through the campers who attended.

The reception on Sept. 12 is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. General admission to the museum is $9 for adults and $5 for children ages five and up, students and active military. The Museum, located at 159 Chestnut Street on the corner of Chestnut and Main, is open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. The Museum is closed on Mondays.

For more information, please visit www.BlowingRockMuseum.org or call 828-295-9099.