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Ferrum Newsstand
For immediate release:

 Released by: Diane Hailey

June 6, 2001

 (540) 365-4302/

Southwest Virginia’s German Heritage on Exhibit at Ferrum College

The birth and death certificate for Margaret Grounds of Roanoke (then
Botetourt) County. 1831. The artist was Samuel Pefley, also of Roanoke
(then Botetourt) County.

Decorated gravestone of Rev. George Danial Flohr (d. 1826) in the cemetery
of St. John's Church in Wytheville. Laurence Krone, a stonemason of German
ancestry, carved this and other fancy gravestones, mostly in the Wythe
County area.

     German and Swiss settlers’ influence on Virginia arts and crafts is showcased in a new exhibit at Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, the State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore. "The German Legacy in Southwest Virginia Decorative Arts" opens June 18, 2001, and runs through March of 2002.

      People of German ancestry began moving into Southwest Virginia in the 1700s. Most were farmers, but potters, gunsmiths, furniture makers, basket makers, metalworkers, stonemasons, and fraktur artists also settled in the region. “The German Legacy in Southwest Virginia Decorative Arts” explores the artistic touches these artisans added to the useful household items and tools they made.

      "When you say ‘German-American,’ people usually think of Pennsylvania, but scores of Germans also settled in Southwest Virginia," said Roddy Moore, Director of the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum. "As part of their culture, they brought with them wonderful traditions of color and design. Visitors to this exhibit will be surprised at the quality and beauty of these pieces."

      Objects in "The German Legacy in Southwest Virginia Decorative Arts" include nineteenth century blanket chests, pie safes, dulcimers, cookie cutters, pierced lanterns, trivets, baskets, rifles, and pottery. The most colorful pieces in the exhibit are the fraktur, hand drawn and watercolored documents created on the occasion of births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Collected from ten Southwest Virginia counties, nearly all of the sixty objects on display are from private collections and have never before been exhibited.

     Admission to the exhibit is free. Located on Route 40 on the campus of Ferrum College, the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum includes gallery exhibits and a living history farm museum. The galleries are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., year-round; and Sundays, 1 to 4:30 p.m., mid-May through mid-August. For more information, call 540-365-4416 or visit # # #

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