The Moonshine & Music exhibit opened April 30, 2016. This room features a life sized diorama of mid twentieth century moonshine production and a formal exhibit of three very special Appalachian musicians. Our dedicated volunteers prioritized historical authenticity while developing the exhibit.
The moonshine diorama features a copper pot style still that was confiscated by the Ashe County Sheriff’s Department. The still is so accurate that if you filled the copper pot with “mash”, set fire under it, and ran water into the “flake stand” you could actually make moonshine! If you look carefully, you will even see an authentic Raccoon Baculum to keep the moonshine flowing out of the end of the “worm.” Other details include an assistant working on a reclaimed ’39 Chevrolet car, wooden meat hooks, a mouse in a trap, and hundreds of hand painted leaves.
The Music portion of the exhibit features three artists central to music history in Ashe County: Albert Hash, Ballard Taylor, and Henry Whitter. Albert Hash was a well-known luthier who made exquisite violins. One of his violins with a beautiful hawk scroll is exhibited as well as the only autoharp he ever built. Albert Hash’s work has been featured in numerous museums including the Smithsonian. Ballard Taylor, another famous Ashe County musician, was also known “Grandpappy Nerrit.” He played with musicians like Roy Clark and Ernest Tubb. Last, but certainly not least is Henry Whitter, one of the most historically significant musicians in country music. He is arguably the first country musician to ever be recorded. The Henry Whitter case features a number of his albums as well as his personal 1929 Martin Guitar.