“The Museum As A Tool To Develop Man’s Future”: Public Relations And Public History In Kannapolis, NC

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William C. Raby (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Karl E. Campbell

Abstract: Industrial heritage displays have attracted a large and growing multidisciplinary body of scholarship, much of which explores the relationships between the politics of deindustrialization and the politics of memory. Industrial heritage museums began to emerge in the late 1970s and early 1980s in concert with widespread deindustrialization, often with the backing of economic development coalitions that touted the potential of industrial heritage to drive postindustrial economic diversification. This thesis focuses on a museum project undertaken by the famously paternalistic southern textile manufacturer, Cannon Mills Company of Kannapolis, North Carolina, during the 1970s. Rather than taking shape in the aftermath of industrial decline, the Cannon Visitor Center immediately preceded the onset of deindustrialization in the southern textile industry. The Cannon Visitor Center used the past to project a future that did not come to pass, but although neither the museum nor Cannon Mills Company survived the southern textile industry’s deindustrialization, the Cannon Visitor Center continues to influence memory in Kannapolis. The story of the museum’s making during the 1970s reveals a New South company struggling to navigate not just the looming threat of textile imports, but the shifting racial and gender dynamics of the post-Civil Rights Era.

Additional Information

Raby, W. (2020). “The Museum As A Tool To Develop Man’s Future”: Public Relations And Public History In Kannapolis, NC. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2020
Industrial heritage, Cannon Mills, Deindustrialization, Southern textile industry, North Carolina Research Campus

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