Just as the turning leaves in the trees began to paint the mountains, I made my journey from Lincoln, Nebraska down to Mountain City to start as the Assistant Curator and Education Outreach Coordinator at Foxfire. I was stunned by the natural beauty that engulfed me, but even more impacted by the incredible legacy of Foxfire. Though familiar with the organization, prior to my arrival in the state, I was unaware of the depth and influence of the organization. I have since been immersed in voices of the past and the rich culture of the Appalachians—and loving every minute of it.
Originally from the St. Louis area, I moved to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for graduate school, where I recently completed a master’s in historical archaeology. While there, I was a graduate fellow with the Center for Great Plains Studies and the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities’ Digital Scholarship Incubator. I also worked with the interdisciplinary Campus Archaeology digital project, creating photogrammetric 3D models and online exhibits. Previous to this, I received my bachelor’s in history with a minor in archaeology from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. I have also worked as an intern with the Steamboat Bertrand Collection at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, the Midwest Archeological Center, and the Missouri History Museum. All of these experiences came from an early interest in history and community engagement when I volunteered as a re-enactor at the age of ten.
I am passionate about restoring life and humanity to history by preserving and sharing historic narratives. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work for an amazing organization like Foxfire that shares these goals. Over the next several months, I will help increase the interpretation and exhibitions at Foxfire. Already I have helped gut a cabin for restoration, worked with a middle school tour group, and created displays for our root cellar and smokehouse. I look forward to building and expanding these efforts, but most importantly, becoming more familiar with the culture of my new home.
~ Kami Ahrens
Assistant Curator/Educational Outreach Coordinator