Crab Orchard Museum to dedicate new gallery and open two exhibit - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Crab Orchard Museum to dedicate new gallery and open two exhibitions

Tazewell, VA (WVVA) —“One thing leads to another,” says Martha Hurst, Chairman of the Board at Historic Crab Orchard Museum in Tazewell, Virginia, “which is a good thing for the museum. An opportunity presented itself and set in motion several positive changes we are proud to introduce to the public.” On March 31st from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. the museum will dedicate a new 660 square foot gallery to present Decorative and Fine Arts as well as open two important exhibitions. The public is invited to celebrate and experience American Furniture from the Higginbotham-Fisher Collection and Best Face Forward: Portraiture and Perception from the Traditional to the Modern.

The museum's mission is to identify, collect, preserve and promote Appalachian cultural heritage, which ties in directly to the new furniture exhibition. Handcrafted, regionally-made fine furniture originally collected by Jeff Higginbotham, a founder of the museum, is on long-term loan from his nephew, Rick Fisher.

Rick Fisher said, "The loan and exhibition are the result of board members' determination to allow Crab Orchard Museum to exist not only as a source of pride for the region, but to become a known and respected institution among the entire U.S. museum field. Particularly, Emily Edmondson, Nancy Brooks, Kim Santolla and Mary Lawson became advocates and activists, not allowing important cultural assets to leave the region. Through this accomplishment, the visions of the Museum's founders such as Jeff Higginbotham, Nell Bundy and Bill Hankins are realized beyond anything they could have imagined forty years ago. It also makes us aware that we ALL have the capacity to leave a lasting legacy --- allowing everyone to enjoy an elevated quality of life right now ...AND attain the 'value added' luxury of knowing that our own contributions, whether big or small, will most assuredly have an everlasting impact."

In order to prepare a space to properly present the furniture and retain the integrity of the museum's permanent exhibitions, several artifacts and educational pieces have been rearranged to improve a visitor's experience. “In order to access the new space, which was a conference and storage space previously, we relocated the teaching wigwam and changed the exhibition entryways. This has allowed us to also feature coverlets in an added textile section that leads to the furniture exhibition. Once you reach the furniture exhibition, though, we are convinced you will be stunned by the impact of the new gallery,” says Charlotte Whitted, Executive Director.

“Best Face Forward” explores questions of how we perceive ourselves, how we perceive others, and how we are depicted or portrayed in painted portraits, silhouettes, formal photographic images, Polaroids and selfies. The exhibition hopes to spark discussion about perceptions of beauty in different cultures, digital image manipulation, and images in social media as well.

According to Emily Edmondson, Chairman of the Higginbotham-Fisher Exhibition Committee, “The museum offers a sense of community, a sense of place. This ‘Grand Reopening' is a renewal of our commitment to preserving Appalachian cultural heritage, and to put our own ‘best face forward' with the renovation of our space. Everyone who comes to see these new exhibitions will be a living part of history as they cross our threshold.”

A short presentation will begin at 5:00 p.m., followed by a ribbon cutting to dedicate the new spaces. Costumed historical interpreters will be located in the permanent exhibitions with “selfie sticks” so that visitors may take their own selfies with them, to “place themselves in history” on social media. Visitors are encouraged to tag Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park on the Internet. Also visitors are encouraged to take Polaroid photos and add themselves to the Best Face Forward exhibition.

Support from private donors has made the renovations possible, including Emily Edmondson, Nancy Brooks, Kim Santolla, and Ron & Kelly Cruey. Reception refreshments will be provided by Cuz's Uptown Barbecue, Donut Diva, Fisher & Company, Front Porch on Main, Stir-N-Dip-A-Tea, Villa Italia, and Your Grate Escape. Free admission will be offered during the reception. For more information, contact the museum at 276-988-6755 or Crab Orchard Museum is located on Rte. 19-460 between Bluefield and Abingdon, in southwest

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