Highland Historical Society Seeking Art for New Exhibit


The Highland County Maple Festival is about more than just syrup, and a new art exhibit will be opening the first weekend to showcase residents from the past.  Lorraine White, a board member of the Highland Historical Society is one of the team members putting together the exhibit.  She explains more about the Society and what folks can expect: “We’re a group of individuals dedicated to preserving Highland County’s past for the enrichment of present and future generations.  The Society members include a lot of local folks, as well as people away from here who have roots and long-term interests in Highland County.

“We’ve got a new exhibit opening up at Maple Festival.  It’ll be in place from the first weekend in Maple Festival until the end of October when the museum closes for the winter.  It will feature Highland County’s artists and crafts people from the past.  We’re excited about this exhibit.  We’ve never done this before.  It’s a new one, and we are seeking either donations or loans from members of the community to help fill out this exhibit.  We are looking for paintings, drawings, ceramics, baskets, small furnishings, woodworking, weavings, textiles, and any other crafts made in Highland County.  We do have a limit that the people whose work we’re showing have been members of the community and are now deceased.  We’re excluding quilts from this exhibit simply due to the space.  We’d like to have everything by mid-February.  That’s kind of the final limit because we need time to put it all together, and we’d also like a little bit of background information on the artists, as well as a photograph if that’s possible.”

Ms. White tells us more about some of the artwork that the Highland Historical Society currently has to display.  She says, “We’ve got some paintings.  We’ve got handiwork done by the Monterey Women’s Auxiliary, which no longer exists.  We’ve got some hand-painted signs, some needlework, a decorated tray and a wooden stirrup that has a horse painted on one side and a dog painted on the other, some tatting by Leola Maloy, and we’ve got pottery and jewelry and artwork by Elizabeth McCoy, so just a variety of things have already come in.”

Ms. White further explains the importance of the exhibit to the community.  She says, “Highland County has a long history of involvement in the arts, and we just think it’s very important to preserve those traditions and the quality of the work.  We know that there are many people who are out there who have a prized piece that was made by a family member, and this is a chance that they can show it off.”

Ms. White concludes with the location of the museum and how to get involved: “The Highland County Museum is in McDowell.  It’s in what used to be known as The Mansion House, a pre-Civil War brick home and that’s located just behind Obaugh Funeral Home.  It’s free of charge to the public, and there’s never any charge to visit the museum, and we are open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 4:00 and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00.  Carolyn Pohowsky and I are collecting the artwork, and my number is 540-468-3470 and Carolyn’s is 540-468-3838.”

To see samples of what the art exhibit will have to offer, a few photographs will posted at this story’s link on www.alleghenymountainradio.org.


Painting by James Boise Hevener

Painting by Doreen Ralston

Hand-painted sign from the “Tallyo Tourist Home”

Handiwork by the Monterey Women’s Auxiliary

Hand-painted “Mansion House” sign by W. Darby

Cross stitch by Louisa Stephenson Barry

“Highland Wools” by Peggy Applefort

Paper doll picture by Louisa Stephenson Barry


Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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