Foxfire, a project begun to inspire North Georgia students that gained national attention documenting the cultural heritage of southern Appalachia, is the focus of a University of Georgia exhibit on its 50th anniversary.
An opening reception for “Foxfire: 50 years of Cultural Journalism Documenting folk Life in the North Georgia Mountains” is scheduled for Sept. 29 from 6-9 p.m. at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The exhibit uses photos and artifacts, including textiles, homemade toys and tools and a moonshine still, to illustrate how Foxfire has documented folk life and customs.
Foxfire began with students collecting oral histories of North Georgia residents and publishing them in a magazine format, beginning in 1967. The project quickly gained national attention and anthologies of the articles the students produced made best-seller lists.
“As Foxfire was, and still is, focused on documenting folk life in the Appalachian mountains, we chose to focus on a variety of different traditions and unique practices documented in the Foxfire magazines,” explained Dixie Gallups, a UGA graduate student. “Each case in the exhibit displays artifacts and information that relate to a different aspect of life in Appalachia. Topics that are covered include textiles, intangible cultural heritage (folklore, superstitions, etc.), music, homemade toys, home remedies, butter churning, tools/tool making, and the art of moonshining. Each of these cases sport relevant issues of the Foxfire magazines and artifacts from the Foxfire Museum.”
Gallups and Kimberly Ellis, both earning master’s of historic preservation, curated the exhibit.
A first edition of the first issue of the magazine, original recording equipment, and photographs of students in the field also are included. The exhibit will be up through Dec. 16.
In 2000, the Foxfire Fund, Inc. donated their entire videotape collection to the Walter J. Brown Media Archive & Peabody Awards Collection, one of three special collections libraries at the UGA Libraries. A unique feature of the audiotaped, videotaped, and photographic collections is that the information was collected by high school students, transcribed for the most part by hand, and published in The Foxfire Magazine and book series. The archives include a large amount of data never published.
The Foxfire organization, now a non-profit, is publishing a book, The Foxfire Book of Simple Living: Celebrating Fifty Years of Listenin’, Laughin’, and Learnin’, copies of which will be available for sale at the reception. Parking is available in the Hull Street Deck.