Local adventurers share their stories at Jackson Library

out graciaslaterThe adventure stories of several Jackson County residents is the subject of a new collection of exhibits and a program at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the Jackson County Library in Sylva.

“In, Out, Through and Back Again: Smoky Mountain Journeys” will feature local journey stories, such as the family journey of the Caldwell family out of Cataloochee Valley for the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the journeys made by Cherokee baskets and their makers. 

The exhibits were prepared by WCU students in Dr Jesse Swigger’s “Introduction to Museums” class and are on display in the glass cases throughout the library.

Other displays in the exhibit were created by Friends of the Library volunteers and feature local adventurers who have a journey story to tell. Those Jackson County residents will be the featured speakers at the Thursday evening event at the Community Room.

The  panel includes:

• Ben Bridgers, who swam the Hellespont in Turkey.

• Jeremy Wilson, who bicycled the Trail of Tears.

• Gracia Slater, who hiked all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

• A.J. Rowell, who bicycled from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Cullowhee.

• Jay Coward, who climbed Mt. McKinley.

• Judi Whatley and Aaron Whatley, who hiked the Appalachian Trail.

• Chad Hallyburton, who runs ultra marathons.

• Charles Chancellor, who bicycled around the world.

The participants will share the story of why they went on their journey and how it changed them. A question and answer period with the audience will follow. Pam Meister, curator of the Mountain Heritage Center at WCU, will moderate.

The Library’s Journey Stories display is part of a larger Journey Stories exhibition that will open at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center on Sept. 29 and will be on display until Nov. 9. The project is a traveling exhibit from Museum on Main Street, a program of the Smithsonian Institution in collaboration with the North Carolina Humanities Council.


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