Our History

In 1966, a struggling English teacher at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Northeast Georgia asked his students what would make school more interesting. They decided to create a magazine, featuring stories gathered from their families and neighbors about the pioneer era of southern Appalachia as well as traditions still thriving in the region.

The students called it “Foxfire” after the glow-in-the-dark fungus found in the local hills. This spark of an idea turned into a phenomenon of education and living history, exploring how our past contributes to who we are and what we can become – how the past illuminates our present and inspires imagination.

 

Museum & Heritage Center

In 1974, Foxfire used book royalties to purchase land, which eventually became an immersive museum. Today, you can experience Foxfire first-hand by walking through the outdoor museum and encountering buildings and artifacts representative of life in the mountains, from the 1820s to the 1940s. Download our trail map here.

Location:

Chattahoochee National Forest, 98 Foxfire Ln, Mountain City, Georgia 30562

Hours:

Monday through Saturday, 9 am until 4 pm

Sunday 12 pm to 4 pm

 

Foxfire Books

The Foxfire Magazine generated  global interest in the folkways and crafts of Southern Appalachia. The Foxfire Book was the first of a series of anthologies compiling articles from the magazine and focusing on the trades, crafts, and livelihoods of the Appalachian pioneers. Today, there are a dozen books in the Foxfire series as well as companion books covering everything from hog scalding to making wine.

The Magazine

The Foxfire Magazine has been in continuous production since first published in 1967. Today, students in the Foxfire Fellowship at our museum produce two issues each year, focusing on the remarkable stories and extraordinary talents of people in the surrounding communities. Additionally, students get to explore mediums beyond the magazine, producing short video documentaries and producing segments for Foxfire’s It Still Lives podcast.

Foxfire Staff Members

Todd Faircloth, Executive Director

Todd Faircloth grew up in Warner Robins, Georgia, and attended Georgia College and State University where he received his degree in marketing. Over the next two decades, he worked for Georgia Farm Bureau in Statesboro as a Relationship Manager, Branch Lead, District Federation Manager, and Claims Adjuster. In these roles, Todd advised agricultural leaders and served as the liaison between county and state leadership.

After relocating to Rabun County in 2020, he worked as the Partner Relationship Manager for Four Seasons Hospice in North Carolina. He brings experience managing budgets, financial planning, and staff supervision. In his new position with Foxfire, Todd will work with the organization’s staff, governing board, community board, and regional partners to develop and expand the reach of Foxfire’s programs.

Barry Stiles, Museum Director

Barry has been a part of the museum since 2008. He oversees all aspects of the museum and archive, including projects such as the Beck Barn relocation and digitization of the archive’s analog audio collection, and oversees public history and education development. Prior to Foxfire, Barry worked at Sautee Nacoochee Community Association as its Heritage Site Manager. He also worked as an exhibit construction specialist for the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, constructing the environmental exhibits at the museum.

He is a carpenter and craftsman, specializing in preservation of historic structures. Barry is also an interpreter and demonstrator of traditional skills, including blacksmithing and woodworking. Foxfire is near to his heart as three of his Grandparents and two of his Uncles are featured in Foxfire publications.

Kami Ahrens, Curator & Educational Outreach 

Kami is Foxfire’s curator and educational outreach coordinator and is responsible for supporting and developing heritage and education-based projects at the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center. Originally from the St. Louis area, Kami received a bachelor’s in history with a minor in archaeology from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She then attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for graduate school, completing a master’s in historical archaeology.

On the weekends, you can find Kami rock climbing or hiking in the mountains. She also has a penchant for baking breads and desserts, which everyone in the Foxfire offices are happy to sample on a regular basis.

Jessica Parker, Museum Store/Donors

Jessica joined the museum in 2013 and serves as its Donor Relations Specialist and Museum Store Manager. She came to the area from Forest Park, GA. In her role at Foxfire, Jessica networks with local artisans, including past Foxfire contacts, for products to sell in the museum store, maintains effective relationships with donors and members, and manages the Foxfire Magazine subscriptions. Additionally, Jessica assists with marketing and promotions for the organization.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys reading mysteries and Southern fiction (Gone With the Wind is her all-time favorite), riding motorcycles with her husband, and spending time with her three children and two beautiful grandbabies.

Cathy Stiles, Development and Finance

Cathy joined her husband, Barry Stiles, to be a part of the Foxfire family in 2008. Originally they moved onto the Foxfire property into staff housing when Barry joined the staff team. They have since relocated to their family homestead nearby. Cathy has over twenty years of experience in non-profit administration, accounting, fundraising and grant writing. Cathy has served as a volunteer for many years at Foxfire, and has also worked at Foxfire in several staff positions over the years. Cathy currently performs the accounting functions, including payroll, accounts payable, and financial reporting; as well as writing grants and working with the development of donors.

Cathy also enjoys demonstrating heritage skills during Foxfire events, including churning butter and washing laundry in an outdoor tub over a (simulated) fire. She always encourages children (and adults) to participate by helping churn the butter or pounding the laundry with the paddle. This is one of her favorite activities at Foxfire because it gets her out of the office and out with the visitors to have fun with them.

The Foxfire Fund, Inc.

 

 

 

Board of Directors

Anne Pledger, Chair

Lakekmont, GA

 

Kathy Thompson, Secretary

Athens, GA

 

Leckie Stack

Tiger, GA

 

Teresia Dunn

Tiger, GA

 

Jan Buley

St. John’s, Newfoundland

 

Jennifer Arbitter, Vice-Chair

Clayton, GA

 

Burgess “Buz” Stone, Chair Emeritus

Lakemont, GA

 

Suzie Flaherty, Community Board Chair

Clayton, GA

 

James K. Hasson

Atlanta, GA

Sandy Smith, Treasurer

Lakemont, GA

 

Dr. Laura West, Chair Emeritus

Lakemont, GA

 

Anita Pittman

Lakemont, GA

 

Gayle Darugh

Clayton, GA

 

Anne Warner

Lakemont, GA