Through a partnership with funding provided by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, we’re collecting oral histories from textile workers in our community. Our first official round of oral histories, along with the first-hand accounts of farmers, employees, and others who worked in the textile and agricultural industries will help us piece together the storied past.
At the same time that we are collecting oral histories, additional funding from Nest—a nonprofit organization that is working to build a new handworker economy—has given us the resources to execute a quantitative and qualitative survey of the textile industry during this period. This data will be analyzed as a detailed record from the height of textile production in this region.
An exhibition for the community in the form of panels and photographs will grow each year and remain on view in Florence, Alabama, for a duration of time. In conjunction with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, this exhibition is planned to travel around the Tennessee River Valley for the public with additional events and programing around the exhibition themes.
Our research and data collection will be housed at the University of Mississippi library through the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Project Threadways’ oral histories will become a part of other material culture and foodways oral histories and will be available for scholarly research around the globe. Additional items will be housed at the University of North Alabama.
Our annual symposium presents the research, shares the oral histories, and allows guests and participants to engage in a dialogue about the deep connection between material culture and making in our community, region, national, and world. Dinners, tours, and workshops expand the experience into a multi-day series of events leaving guests inspired and informed from their time with us.