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Blanket Town Spring Update 2019

(Photo courtesy of the Swannanoa Valley Museum)

Beacon Exhibit at Swannanoa Valley Museum

We are very excited to be collaborating with the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center on it’s 2019 exhibit about the Beacon blanket mill and its impact on the Swannanoa Valley. Blanket Town is providing some audio visual elements for the exhibit, including a scene about the fire that destroyed the mill. There are beautifully designed panels with information about the Owen family and the Beacon mill, as well as numerous blankets, robes, and historical catalogs on display. 

The exhibit runs from April 13th to November 1st, so there is plenty of time to go see it.

There is an opening reception for the Beacon Mill exhibit Friday May 3rd
from 5:00-6:30 pm at the Swannanoa Valley Museum and HIstory Center
223 West State Street, Black Mountain, NC
Free and open to the public.

Transforming Heirloom Blankets into Heirloom Apparel

In January we got the chance to film the trunk show of Adore Designs at Bittersweet Antiques, in Swannanoa. DeeAnn Carpenter of Adore Designs makes beautiful one of a kind coats and accessories from vintage Beacon blankets, including hats, shawls, jackets, and bags. We filmed DeeAnn and others, including former Beacon employees, who stopped by to see how vintage Beacon blankets are being repurposed into these beautiful works of wearable art.

Blanket Town on the Road !

Blanket Town director Rebecca Williams was the featured speaker at the Swannanoa Valley Museum’s History Cafe on April 22nd. Williams presented a talk about Beacon’s history in the context of the migration of the textile industry to the South, and also shared short clips from her upcoming film Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of an American Mill Town.

Designed for adults and modeled after the popular Science Cafes taking place across the nation, Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center’s monthly History Cafe offers lectures and workshops led by local experts and researchers on regional history topics. These hour-long meet-ups engage the many stories that have shaped our southern Appalachian community as a place — from geological changes to native histories, musical innovations, pioneer experiences, and labor struggles — and will end with informal discussion bringing our shared history into context with contemporary issues.

In February, Williams was invited to present excerpts of Blanket Town at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University in West Virginia.

 The center, housed in a renovated stone barn, holds offices, archives, a library, and a beautiful performance/ exhibition space. We screened about 30 minutes of the film, including new scenes that had not been seen before by the public, followed by questions and answers with the audience. 

According to Williams the screening at Fairmont "was a wonderful opportunity to show parts of the film to an audience who was not familiar with the Beacon story at all. It’s really important to have the chance to conduct these kinds of work in progress screenings, because each audience can offer valuable feedback."


We are so grateful for the generous support we have received this year from the Black Mountain/Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund and for the sponsorship opportunity with the Center for Independent Documentary. as well as the advice and support from our friends at The Center for Documentary Studies. And of course for all of your ongoing support !


We've been documenting the Beacon story for many years. Conducting oral history interviews, scanning old family photographs, and preserving the stories of those who lived and worked in this "Blanket Town."                   

It's a huge story -- the rise and collapse of the US manufacturing industry-- told small. Blanket Town brings this complex and urgent history alive through amazing archival footage, interwoven with the voices of former mill workers and townspeople who speak with honest emotion and humor. 

And we couldn't do it without you. Please make a tax-deductible donation below.

Or you can send a check to : The Center for Independent Documentary
1300 Soldiers Field Road Suite #5
Boston, MA 02135


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