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Volume 24, Number 8 — August 2017

History Through Storytelling

Jan Turner entertains guests in the dining room at Rocky Mount.
Jan Turner entertains guests in the dining room at Rocky Mount.

A trip from Abingdon Muster Grounds to Rocky Mount

By Leslie Grace / A! Magazine for the Arts | November 27, 2012

What we now think of primarily as art forms — pottery, weaving, candle making, blacksmith and other arts and crafts — were a necessary part of survival when this area was a frontier region. Storytelling was also vital; it served as entertainment after a hard day of labor and as a way to pass on cultural traditions. Rocky Mount and the Abingdon Muster Grounds keep those traditions alive and serve as prime examples of the use of storytelling, not just as an entertaining art form, but also as a way to teach our history and culture.

The use of storytelling to teach history is clear, if you pay a visit to Rocky Mount Museum or the Abingdon Muster Grounds. There stories are told to illustrate not only major historical events — such as the Overmountain Men marching off to fight the British during the Revolutionary War — but also the everyday lives on the frontier.

It may be difficult to imagine in this modern interconnected world, but in the late 18th century, this region was the frontier. A 1763 British law forbade settlement in this region, although that hadn't stopped settlers from coming.

READ ON

>> At the Abingdon Muster Grounds learn about the journey of the Overmountain Men.

>> Other old-fashioned Christmas celebrations: Exchange Place and Fields-Penn House.