Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center
223 West State Street, Black Mountain, NC 28711 - United States
The Swannanoa Valley Museum preserves and interprets the social, cultural and natural history of the Swannanoa Valley, a pathway to Western North Carolina, by developing dynamic programs and engaging exhibitions for the education and enrichment of the community, its children, and future generations.
Beacon Blankets: The Mill
This summer and into the fall, the Swannanoa Valley Museum is exploring the story of the textile industry in Western North Carolina through its new exhibit “Beacon Blankets: The Mill.” This multimedia exhibit delves into the history of Beacon Blankets, a New England textile company that migrated to the town of Swannanoa, near Asheville, North Carolina, during the Depression. The Beacon Manufacturing Company was once the largest blanket manufacturer in the world and today, many Beacon blankets are collector’s items. The exhibit highlights several aspects of Beacon’s history, including its controversial use of the term “Indian Design” when advertising its blankets, workers’ striking and unionizing efforts, and the lives and culture of Beacon’s Swannanoa community. These topics are explored through banners, historic footage, textile and blanket displays, activities for children, and more.
Pathways from the Past: The Swannanoa Valley through Time
The Swannanoa Valley has been a pathway for animals and humans for more than 12,000 years as they crossed the Blue Ridge over the Catawba River headwaters or through the Swannanoa Gap. It was one of the main routes taken by frontiersmen and pioneers making their way west. Our permanent exhibit follows these pathways through time as it winds through our second floor gallery.
Hands on History, a permanent part of our Pathways exhibit
Bring the kids to experience history in an hands-on way. Type on a typewriter, dial home on a rotary phone, and dig for Native American artifacts. Pick up a brochure at the front desk to and get your hands on history with Rascal the Raccoon. He’ll take you around to show you how to use some of his favorite artifacts, so you can learn a lot about the history of the Swannanoa Valley!
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