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Center for Appalachian Studies receives grant to develop classroom materials focused on region’s musical heritage

BOONE—The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership has awarded $7,000 to the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University to develop lesson plans about North Carolina’s music traditions.

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Partnering with schools in a seven-county area, the project will develop online, multimedia lesson plans for 8th grade history and social studies educators to use in their classrooms to interpret the diverse histories of North Carolina’s musical traditions.

“Place-based education can help students support their learning through their own experiences,” said Dr. William Schumann, project coordinator and director of the Center for Appalachian Studies. “This project draws from Appalachian’s unrivaled resources in regional history and culture to bring the past into focus through the contemporary learning goals of area students and schools.”

The project is a collaborative faculty effort between the Center for Appalachian Studies, Reich College of Education and University Libraries, as well as consulting faculty in the Department of History.

Schuman said musical heritage resources in the university’s W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection will be used to create the web-based lesson plans.

“One example would be to utilize information about the life and wider social conditions of regional musicians, such as Doc Watson, and to build lessons plans around this content that directly meets the state learning standards for eighth grade social studies and History,” Schuman said. “Thus, students learn about themselves in the context of skill-building that prepares them for educational and career success.”

For more information about the project, contact Schumann at 828-262-4089 or

The BRNHA Partnership awarded 22 grants totaling $170,000 in funding to preserve and promote Western North Carolina’s heritage in this grant cycle.

“We appreciate and are grateful for all the wonderful work that is being done throughout the region to preserve our heritage and improve our communities,” said Angie Chandler, executive director of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership. “This year’s grant cycle was extremely competitive—we had 52 applicants and some great projects presented, but we simply could not fund them all.” All of the grant awards will be matched with local or state funding and donated services.


Funded by federal dollars the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership receives, the grant awards will help support diverse initiatives across the North Carolina mountains and foothills, focusing on craft, music, natural heritage, Cherokee traditions and the region’s legacy in agriculture. These five facets of the region’s heritage earned the 25 counties of Western North Carolina a Congressional designation as the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area in 2003.

Since its inception, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, a public charity, has awarded 133 grants totaling over $1.9 million and leveraging another $4.2 million in matching contributions from local governments and the private sector. These grants have funded projects in all 25 Western North Carolina counties.