“History on the Move” to install interpretive panels at ART shelters

Press release from the Pack Memorial Library:

The North Carolina Collection at Pack Memorial Library, Strive Beyond Drive, and Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center are excited to announce their new partnership with Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) and the City of Asheville to install interpretive historical panels on bus shelters throughout Asheville and Buncombe County.

Called History on the Move, this new initiative is slated to expand to be a series of informational exhibit panels located on bus shelters throughout the ART service area. Each miniature exhibit will highlight the history of the neighborhood and transportation corridors nearest the shelter in which the panels are installed.

With transportation, change is constant,” says Ritchie Rozzelle with Strive Beyond Drive. “Providing the historical context that car dependency is only our current condition, not a historic or future fixed state, helps us be realistic in considering options like transit, carpooling, light and active transportation, shared vehicles, and telecommuting. We’re excited to join in this project and hopeful for a future where these years are remembered as the car age, without too much romance for a transportation mode that may clearly be seen as unsafe, inequitable, and environmentally irresponsible.”

The first of the exhibits in the History on the Move series will feature the history of the Oteen and Riceville area and share information about how transportation has changed in the area over the last 200+ years. It will make its public debut at the Pack Memorial Library Centennial Celebration Block Party on Friday, July 26, from 2-5 p.m. before being installed on the eastbound ART bus shelter on US Hwy 70 and Riceville Road in early August. The Centennial Celebration will feature activities for all ages inside the library and across the street in the lot at 68 Haywood.

“Making information and resources as accessible as possible is one of our primary goals as an archive located within a free public library,” said North Carolina Room staff member Katherine Calhoun Cutshall. “With nearly 20,000 images in our collection, and more coming in all the time, History on the Move presents the perfect opportunity to shed some light on resources that are in our collection.”

Images used to illustrate the history are from in the North Carolina Collection at Pack Library, while the exhibit text was authored by staff at the Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center in Black Mountain, NC. “As a nonprofit history museum with a mission of preservation and education, we’re proud to be a History on the Move partner. Buncombe County has such a rich history we can’t capture all – or even most – of it inside our museum walls, so it’s wonderful to be able to bring that history outside our walls and into public spaces like the city and county bus shelters,” Museum Director Anne Chesky Smith said.

“Plus we’ve got a bus stop less than a block from our front door, so we hope this might encourage bus riders to visit the museum and museum visitors to ride the bus,” Chesky Smith continued.

The project received financial support and guidance from Strive Beyond Drive, as well as the project’s other partners.

“Did you know that the name ‘Oteen’ is said to have been suggested hospital administrator when the VA was founded in the 1910s? It was derived from a Native American word meaning ‘chief aim’ as it was the chief aim of the hospital for patients to heal so that they could return to service to their country,” Chesky Smith stated. “That’s just one of the interesting history tidbits you’ll see on the panels.”

The panels at the shelter in Oteen/Riceville will be the first of several in a series released over the coming year.

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