Wearing a red and black plaid jacket, Poet and Jackson County Resident Louise Morgan Runyon looks at a grove of trees.
Courtesy Foxfire Museum

For some artists, the pandemic was a time for creation and reflection. As part of BPR and Foxfire Museum's oral history project Jackson County poet Louise Runyon shared her poetry about pandemic - and her family connection to Western North Carolina. 

She was interviewed by Foxfire Museum curator Kami Ahrens in March 2021.

As we mark the one year anniversary of the pandemic in North Carolina, BPR is launching a new series of oral histories from Appalachia. It’s a partnership with Foxfire Museum to gather and share how COVID-19 has shaped us. We start with Rabun County middle school teachers John and Alicia Kilby, interviewed by their former student Zain Harding.

Graphic by Foxfire Mountain Heritage Museum

Blue Ridge Public Radio is partnering with Foxfire Mountain Heritage Museum to launch a campaign to collect oral histories about the COVID-19 pandemic in Appalachia. The goal of the project is to record our region’s experiences with COVID-19 and to bring together the Western North Carolina community during this time of isolation.


Lilly Knoepp

The pandemic has hit non-profits and museums hard due to travel and social distancing restrictions.   One museum in our region appears naturally poised to weather the pandemic.

The War Woman cabin on the property of the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center is decorated for Christmas. It was built in the late 1880’s but is now styled as a 1940’s Appalachian cabin with a woodstove and a vintage radio that clicks on when you enter the room:

“Where the blue of the night… meets the gold of the day,” plays the radio.

Lilly Knoepp

  Artists at Western Carolina University and a historic 20th century house might be an odd combination. But they share a common goal. Here’s how this unlikely duo is hoping to build a community.


Holding onto memories of Appalachian traditions can take many forms. Artists, preservations and oral historians are all working to protect those memories - each in different ways.