BLUE RIDGE INSTITUTE & MUSEUM
Fiddle exhibit at the Blue Ridge Institute.
Looking for live music? The annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival (October) is the largest celebration of authentic western Virginia traditions. Amid crafts, quilts, coon dog races, horse pulls, vintage farm machinery, car culture, and old-time foods, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival features three stages of music. “Thoroughly authentic,” says The New York Times. In the spring and early summer, the BRI’s occasional Ferrum Jamborees bring string band pickers and dancers together for community dances free to all.
Need some Virginia folk music for the road? The Blue Ridge Institute gift shop offers blues, ballads, worksongs, fiddle and banjo tunes, and various other musical styles in its own Grammy Award-nominated CD and cassette series. Books and gallery guides highlight the musical heritage of the region, and an array of gift items reflect local craft traditions.
Want to learn more about Virginia folk music? The BRI produces both changing gallery exhibits and online exhibits to showcase the region’s musical character and folk culture. Visit www.blueridgeinstitute.org for the current gallery topic.) Past music exhibits have highlighted the banjo in Virginia, Virginia’s early recording artists, Blue Ridge instrument makers, and native Virginia ballads. The BRI also maintains the Blue Ridge Heritage Archive, a permanent repository for thousands of recordings, images, and documents reflecting the folklife of Virginia. The archive is open to anyone researching regional folkways.
The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum is located on the campus of Ferrum College, 10 miles west of Rocky Mount, Virginia, on Route 40. The museum galleries are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., year-round; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., mid-May through mid-August. Gallery admission is free. The archive is open by appointment weekdays throughout the year.
Directions: Traveling North or South on Interstate 81. Come to Roanoke, exit and take 581 South to 220 South to the second Rocky Mount 40 West exit (this takes approximately 45 minutes). You will see a brown highway sign for Ferrum College and the Blue Ridge Institute. Follow Route 40 West through Rocky Mount for approximately 10 miles. You will pass the Chapel and the next brick building on the right will be the Blue Ridge Institute.
Click here to visit the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum website.
For more information call the BRI at 540-365-4416.