The Appalshop Archive was established to preserve and make accessible the creative output and extraordinary history of this rural- based media arts and education center located in the Central Appalachian region. In addition to stewarding the organization’s collections, the Archive accepts media and other materials that enrich our understanding of the history, culture, art, and social issues of the region. In order to gain physical and intellectual control of the collections, a state-of-the-art climate-controlled vault was built and cataloging system established in 2006.
The archive at Appalshop includes thousands of hours of film, videotape, audio recordings as well as photography and supporting materials that portray a multifaceted view of life and history in the Appalachian region. Appalshop media makers have documented some of the most vital individuals in the region including ballad collector John Jacob Niles, authors James Still and Harriette Arnow, and tradition bearers such as renowned storyteller Ray Hicks and folk artist Chester Cornett, all deceased, as well as living legends including musicians Ralph Stanley, Lee Sexton, and others.
In addition, Appalshop’s audiovisual records span a wide range of practices of community institutions such as the Old Regular Baptist Church, and address important social topics like stripmining, labor organizing, in-and-out migra- tion, and Appalachian representation in American popular culture. Appalshop films and videos contain interviews and footage of Appalachian people from all walks of life, from coalminers to lawyers, national politicians to local sheriffs, elderly midwives to teen-aged basketball players. June Appal’s early recordings contain some of the best examples of Appalachian traditional music—a genre that has played an integral role in the development of American popular music, as well as being important and entertaining in its own right. It is the mission of the Appalshop Archive to conserve and preserve this great body of work in film, video, audio, and visual images, as it provides irreplaceable windows into understanding part of America’s legacy.
1) “Colorized” production still from the filming of Chairmaker (1975, color). Director Rick DiClemente takes a light meter reading of chairmaker Dewey Thompson.
2) Production still from Girls’ Hoops (1998, color) by Justine Richardson.