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Capitol to Host Photography Exhibit on 19th Century Life in Western N.C.

The Mountains Are Calling: At Home in Western North Carolina

Isolation. The immense mountains of western North Carolina made life difficult for early regional settlers. Telling its story with objects, labels, and striking high resolution photographs, “The Mountains Are Calling: At Home in Western North Carolina” utilizes the scenery around the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site to explore facets of life in the North Carolina mountains from c.1790 to c.1830. The exhibit opens Jan. 8 at the North Carolina State Capitol.

Without the railroad and with hazardous roads only accessible by wagons, mountain settlements remained isolated for most of the 19th century. Slow economic growth and separation from the rest of the state encouraged the perception of an uneducated southern Appalachia. But regional remoteness actually inspired education, independence, determination, and inventiveness. This exhibit uses photographs to highlight aspects of daily life — from child rearing to wood working — and works to contextualize the Vance family and the enslaved people who lived and worked on the property.

The Capitol will host an exhibit opening with photographer Dr. Brenda Scott at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18. Light refreshments will be provided, and admission is free.

The exhibit was produced by Vance Birthplace State Historic Site, the North Carolina State Capitol, and photographer Dr. Brenda Scott. It is free to view, and will be on display in the Capitol Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 8 through April 2018

Dr. Brenda Scott is an art photographer based in Durham, N.C. She has been taking photographs since elementary school. Also trained as a cellist and an organologist (one who specializes in the history and development of musical instruments), she worked as a curator of a small musical instrument museum for just over 10 years before becoming a freelance photographer and cellist. Scott earned her doctorate at the University of Oxford (Somerville College) and holds degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, Auburn University, and the Academy of Art University. For more information on Dr. Scott, visit her website at

For additional information on the Capitol or this exhibit, visit or call (919) 733-4994.  The State Capitol is located at 1 East Edenton Street, Raleigh and is administered by the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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