Skip to main content

The Way Watauga Works

The Way Watauga Works


The Way Watauga Works
May 5 - July 24, 2018


Responding to BRAHM’s latest exhibition from the Smithsonian, The Way We Worked, a follow up exhibition exploring the history and essence of work of individuals in our local area of Watauga County, The Way Watauga Works, features portraits and oral histories collected from 31 entrepreneurs, artisans, public servants, and others working within our community. The youngest participant is 24 years old, and the oldest is 78 years old. Oral histories have been transcribed in both English and Spanish, making this BRAHM’s first bilingual exhibition. Each oral history, which can be listened to in the gallery, is accompanied by a full-color portrait of the subject captured by local Boone photographer Ashley Warren of Natural Craft Photography

The Way Watauga Works also features four documentaries made by the 8th grade class of Bethel School as part of the Smithsonian’s Stories YES! program. This project is made possible thanks to The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives that is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Humanities Council. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

The Way Watauga Works oral histories were collected and transcribed by Willard Watson with assistance from Hannah McLeod, Mason Bean, Ethan Bowen, Madison Biddix, Patrick Fee, Madison Goodwin, Serena Her, Courtney Maness, Tanner McCandless, Ryan Munker,  Wyatt Payne, Tara Speelman, and Ashley Warren.

This project was made possible through the support of the North Carolina Humanities Council, the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street Stories: YES! Program, Appalachian State University’s University Documentary Film Services, Dr. Katherine Ledford’s Appalachian Stories class for the Fall of 2017, Dr. Patricia Beaver, Tom Hansell, and the 31 hardworking individuals who gave up their time and shared their stories with us.

Image credit: Ashley Warren. "Lisa Cooper." 2017. C-print. Courtesy the artist.

Click below to listen to the oral histories:

Stories: YES!

Stories: YES! from the Smithson's Museum on Main Street program provides funds to train and equip students for Youth Engagement and Skill-building (YES!).  Since 2012, hundreds of young people infifteen states have created digital stories and shared them online. 

Each spring, young people across the country engage their communities to discover and digitally document their unique history by utilizing professional equipment. Organizations hosting a Museum on Main Street exhibition are invited by Humanities Councils to submit a proposal for Stories: YES!.

In 2017, BRAHM was awarded the Stories: YES! grant. Since November 2017, BRAHM has worked with the 8th grade class of Bethel School. Students attended workshops based on narrative structure, storytelling, photo composition, interviewing, and video editing. The seventeen students split into four groups and chose to focus on members of their community.

Please click below to watch the videos made by the 8th grade Bethel School students.