The Museum of Appalachia Display Barn – Folk Art

The Display Barn features an extensive collection of Appalachian folk art. This exhibit showcases a number of colorful mountain characters that created masterful works of art, without any formal training. A prime example of pioneer ingenuity, these carvers, sculptors, and painters demonstrated an uncanny ability to make “something from nothing”; their creations were often fashioned out of common items that could be found nearby. These works are as impressive for their quality as they are for their unique, aesthetic beauty.

Here, you’ll meet a number of strange and fascinating personalities, such as Minnie Black, who made instruments and sculptures from gourds, and Troy Webb, a coal miner who taught himself to whittle after suffering a terrible mining accident—later becoming one of the nation’s premiere carvers of primitive art. One of the more memorable displays is devoted to Cedar Creek Charlie, a man who painted everything he owned—from the house that he lived in to the clothes that he wore—with red, white, and blue polka dots.

These are just a few of the many interesting people that you’ll meet in an exhibit that Smithsonian Magazine refers to as “most impressive.”