Feb. 12, 2015. The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) is proud to present an exhibition on “Mr. Blowing Rock” himself, Jerry Burns. The exhibit, Jerry Burns: Through the Lens, is happening in collaboration with the Blowing Rock Historical Society. Nearly two-hundred photographs of the town and community will be on display, many of which were taken by Jerry during his time as editor of the Blowing Rocket. A reception for this exhibition and others on view will be held during an all out Winter Exhibition Celebration at the Museum on Friday, Feb. 13 from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“The winter season is a time when the Museum really places a focus on our local history and community,” says BRAHM’s Interim Executive Director, Bob McCammon. “We’re proud to be partnering with the Blowing Rock Historical Society to tell Jerry’s story, both as a photographer and an honored citizen of our beloved town.”
Jerry Burns was rarely seen without a camera. He was known for his modesty, and as such, he preferred to be behind the scenes, taking in the action and capturing in every photograph the town that he so loved. And with nicknames like “Mr. Blowing Rock” and “Mr. Sunshine,” it’s easy to see that the community appreciated Jerry just as much in return. His work and dedication to the town became a symbol to the community for what it means to be a Blowing Rock citizen.
Jerry was born on June 18, 1940 as a resident of Watauga County, and he spent most of his life here in Blowing Rock. After serving in the United States Navy and graduating from the Appalachian Teacher’s College (now Appalachian State University), Jerry continued living in Blowing Rock and stayed involved with the town he grew to love. His most memorable accomplishment was being editor of Blowing Rock’s local newspaper, the Blowing Rocket, a title he held for forty-four years.
Along with his own photographs, Jerry was frequently presented with historical images of the town from various people, thinking he might be able to use them. Jerry’s collection grew over the years, as he had a deep appreciation for not only photography, but history, especially when it came to his hometown. Upon his retirement in 2009, Jerry gave the tremendous collection he had amassed to the Blowing Rock Historical Society, in hopes that they would be able to continue to tell the story of our beloved town.
This exhibition highlights the Historical Society’s vast collection. Through these photographs, we can see Jerry’s lasting imprint all around, from Main Street to the Blue Ridge Parkway. These photographs show Jerry exactly as he was: a citizen who gave rhythm to the heartbeat of a small mountain town, with a lot of big things to say.
General admission to the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum is $7 for adults and $6 for students, seniors, active military, and children ages 5 and up. Donations are accepted for admission to the Museum on Thursdays. Located at 159 Chestnut Street on the corner of Chestnut and Main in Blowing Rock, NC, the Museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday (closed on Sunday and Monday). For more information, please call (828) 295-9099 or visit www.blowingrockmuseum.org.