Appalachian Women’s Museum features the home arts
The sprawling house that dominates the Monteith Farmstead was once the long-time home of a pair of sisters who lived there their entire lives. As adults, during a time when it was rare for women to live alone, the two sisters shared the responsibility of caring for the home place. Fiercely proud and loyal to their family heritage, they worked hard to preserve what had been left to them by their parents. Keeping the farmstead much as it had been when their parents were alive, the two siblings practiced traditions that today we celebrate as craftsmanship. The farmstead showcases the home arts of quilting, sewing, and canning during events throughout the year.
Edna and Edith Monteith were born during the first two decades of the 20th century. As adults, Edith managed the house and farm while Edna served for 45 years as the Dillsboro Postmaster. They tended their flower garden and made quilts and crafts to supplement their income. Today their home houses the Appalachian Women’s Museum, a site dedicated to sharing and celebrating women’s lives. For many women, life in the Southern Appalachians was hard with raising children on very little means, caring for families and making a living in an isolated region. No matter the circumstances, these women faced whatever obstacles came their way with determination, grit and grace. Some achieved prominence in the arts, government, education and social causes while others achieved success through raising productive children. Regardless of their status, it is stories of these ordinary women leading extraordinary lives that must be preserved and shared to inspire future generations.
The 100- year-old house has been undergoing restoration and repair and is open for special events. A series of programs, demonstrations, and hands-on activities focus on traditional home crafts, including a display in the Canning House Kitchen. The Farmstead and surrounding property has been developed as a public park with fishing and picnic areas, a greenway along the banks of Scott Creek, and other recreational facilities. The house and property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For hours and information, go to www.appwomen.org.