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BRAHM Opens Exhibit ‘Common Threads: Five Influential Women and Their Legacies’ Sept. 13

by Madison Fisler Lewis

Sept. 9, 2014. On Sept. 13, The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will unveil its newest exhibit, “Common Threads: Five Influential Women and Their Legacies.” The exhibit will be regionally focused and will highlight five historic women and their influence on North Carolina.

“This is a history exhibit that is celebrating five women who had a significant impact on life in North Carolina and left a legacy that we are still enjoying today,” said Joann C. Mitchell, Executive Director of the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.

The five women featured in this exhibit are Dr. Mary Martin Sloop, Lucy Morgan, Bertha Cone, Vera Lachmann and Emily Prudden.

BRAHM logoDr. Mary Martin Sloop founded the Crossnore School with her husband Eustace in 1913 with the idea that education is the best way for one to rise above one’s circumstances. The Sloops eventually built a school, hospital, dental clinic and the boarding school to help children in the High Country have a better chance at life.

Lucy Morgan founded the Penland School in 1929, as an extension of a craft-based economic development project. Morgan came to the area in 1920 and was a teacher at the Appalachian School. She also founded the Penland Weavers which gave local women the materials and expertise required to create and market their goods.

“Lucy had a big impact on how women viewed themselves and helping women have a big impact on the economy,” Mitchell said.

Bertha Cone was the wife of philanthropist and entrepreneur Moses Herman Cone. Though the couple had no children, the couple left a large amount of property to the community when they passed away. Bertha donated the Flat Top Mansion to the Moses H.Cone Memorial Park.

Vera Lachmann was a holocaust survivor, poet, educator, classicist and the founder of Camp Catawba, a summer camp for boys near Blowing Rock.

“Vera was a Holocaust survivor who came to North Carolina and it reminded her of her home in Bavaria,” Mitchell said. “She started her camp for boys which stayed until the 1970s.”

Emily Pruden founded a school for mountain children following the Civil War and helped children in rural communities to have access to education.

“Emily Prudden came from the north to the south after the Civil War,” Mitchell said. “She started schools for impoverished children. She founded 15 schools in the Carolinas, 13 in North Carolina.”

As this is a mainly historical exhibit, the exhibition contains many historical artifacts from the five featured women.

“We have artifacts from all five of these women. We have photographs, we have Bertha Cone’s trunk, we have a loom like the one Lucy Morgan used, we have bottles from the first dairy in Watauga County, we have recordings of Vera teaching the boys at Camp Catawba songs and poetry, we have items from Mary Martin Sloop’s medical practice. There are many small things that we gathered, and the exhibit is really worth taking your time to go through slowly and read everything.”

This exhibit will run from Sept. 13-Jan. 4, 2015 in the Main Gallery of the Museum. The BRAHM will host an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. For more information about this exhibit and others at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, visit www.BlowingRockMuseum.org or call 828-295-9099.