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Appalachian images, Civil War draw Reece focus

A glimpse of Appalachia today and during the upheaval of the Civil War can be seen with a visit to the Reece Museum over the next few weeks.
Two separate exhibitions study the region through decidedly different lenses: “Mike Smith: Seeing Rural Appalachia” and “Caught in the Crossfire: The Journey of Three Appalachian Families through the Civil War.”
“Caught in the Crossfire,” on display through June 13, allows visitors to sense the horrors of the Civil War by following the military careers of three Appalachian families.
Patrick Cash, a master’s degree candidate in the East Tennessee State University Department of History, curated the exhibition.
“The soldiers’ diaries, letters and artifacts are what spurred my interest in putting together this exhibit,” Cash said. “In particular, the diaries and letters of these three men create an emotional connection between the writer and reader. One becomes aware of how uniquely devastating this war was to the soldiers and their families — how war is about more than just battles won and casualties lost.”
The exhibition by Smith, professor and head of the photography program in ETSU’s Department of Art and Design, documents the environs of Johnson City. “Seeing Rural Appalachia,” which runs through July 3, showcases 28 works from 2005 through 2010.
Randy Sanders, interim director of the museum, says Smith’s collection “reinforces what is already known by many — here is an artist who has earned a place in the forefront of contemporary American photography.”
An exhibition catalog will be available for a suggested donation of $7. The catalog was made possible with the support of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at ETSU.
The Reece Museum is a division of ETSU’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Services. Admission is free, and regular museum hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, call the Reece Museum at 439-4392.