In 1966, a high school English class in Rabun Gap, Georgia wrote its own unusual assignment: instead of studying literature and writing papers, the students would interview residents of their tight-knit Appalachian community and publish the results. The assignment established The Foxfire Magazine, a periodical that has been in production since 1967 and that provides a record of the region’s history and way of life. It has led to New York Times best-selling anthologies, 20 of which are still in print; a Tony-award winning play; and a living history heritage center in Mountain City, Georgia that the students built themselves after purchasing the land with their publishing royalties. The NEH has offered the Foxfire Center periodic support since 1970. In the early days of the project, the NEH provided funding for recording supplies, photographic film, travel, and the training of new instructors as the program grew. A more recent grant is helping the Center modernize the museum and heritage site, making it into a more interactive experience through touch screen displays, a smartphone app, and an expanded website. This technology will integrate Foxfire’s archival collection into the museum, making it possible for visitors to access the images and audio recordings that students have collected over the past half century.
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