Bell County will be well represented this weekend at the Appalachian Studies Association 40th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference in Blacksburg, Virginia. Bell County Museum Director William Tribell is scheduled to speak and give a presentation at the conference.
The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, there will be a release of the Parrott film with Appalshop. The session will be Saturday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. in the Recital Salon.
“Bell County has been working with Appalshop for many years on film preservation projects,” said Tribell in an earlier interview. “We are all very pleased to see Dr. Parrott’s films preserved and archived, and being shared with an audience in this manner.”
Sociologist John Verburg of Talladega University will serve as convener for the program and will be leading the discussion with Tribell and Appalshop’s Audio-Video Archivist Caroline Rubens. Composer Robert Andrew Scott will be performing the score for the film presentation.
The preserved 16mm color home movies shot in the 1940s-1950s by Bell County coal camp doctor John Parrott were premiered by Appalshop as part of the 2016 Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival in Whitesburg.
Parrott’s films document a range of local events including a family field day and kids’ costume contest, a cheerleading squad at a high school football game, a small-town circus parade, a tobacco farmer harvesting leaves and a church group attending a river baptism.
The films were preserved with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation and numerous donors. A score written by Scott was added to the final production to be available on DVD.
Tribell’s trip to Blacksburg culminates on Sunday when the museum director gives his presentation “Historical Tourism in a Reconstruction Era.” The presentation will focus on the generational gap that is affecting tourism.
“There is a definite generation gap affecting tourism today. All across Appalachia and abroad we are seeing this divergence, and being left to find new ways to address and overcome,” said Tribell. “As a newly-appointed director of a museum at the farthest tip of Eastern Kentucky, I approached the job as an aspect of show business where much of my experience is rooted.”
“I strive to learn the traditional and even aspects of the industry that aren’t necessarily in my field per se. All aspects of tourism are unequivocally connected. From historical tourism and statewide programs to local historical societies, there is correlation. Success in one area can be beneficial to all others in said region.”
Tribell says the generational divide is causing flux. In addition to that, re-branding is met timidly as changes are being made to long held traditional approaches and application.
One example of this is the Bigfoot exhibition, which Tribell said was met with mixed reactions.
“The reasoning behind (the Bigfoot exhibit) was to bridge that generation gap,” said Tribell. “How do you talk to your local people? Have you been outside here lately? Do you go up where they’re four-wheeling and what they’re interested in? These are your people.”
“The first time any of those people walked foot in that museum was to come see Bigfoot. And then they saw their grandparents, and then they saw their history. That place, these little historical societies, it belongs to you. It isn’t mine. It isn’t that society’s. That’s yours.”
About Appalachian Studies Association
The mission of the Appalachian Studies Association is to promote and engage dialogue, research, scholarship, education, creative expression, and action among a diverse and inclusive group of scholars, educators, practitioners, grassroots activists, students, individuals, groups and institutions.
The Appalachian Studies Association is headquartered at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.