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Beacon Blankets: The Mill, A New Exhibit
September 12, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until November 2, 2019
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.
In addition to its 2019 Beacon Blankets exhibit, the museum hosts a permanent regional history exhibit on its second floor titled “Pathways to the Past.” The Swannanoa Valley has been a pathway for animals and humans for more than 12,000 years, and this exhibit explores the animal and plant life, native culture, colonizing history, and industrial development of the Valley. This exhibit features a host of artifacts from the museum’s collections and activities for children.