Inspired by the then popular book Our Southern Highlanders by Horance Kephart, William A. Barnhill at age 25 traveled from Philadelphia to Asheville to set up a photography business. He enjoyed hiking and taking candid images of locals making everyday necessities by hand. He later produced these photographs for the Pack Library in Asheville, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress. He also learned about bark basket making from one of his subjects, David H. Penland, who later gave him one as a gift.
Today, you can see some of the photographs Barnhill took, along with Penland’s basket, and more at our special traveling exhibit developed by the Southern Appalachian Archives and the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill University. This includes a special video by WNC naturalist and herbalist Doug Elliott, which demonstrates how to make a bark basket. This exhibit only run till July 30, 2017 so don’t miss out!