Center Staff

The Mountain Heritage Center Staff Offices are located at the end of the main corridor.  Please feel free to ask questions at any time.  



Education associate Peter Koch holds an M.A. in public history from North Carolina State University and is the Nominating chair for the North Carolina Museums Council.  He is also on the Advisory Council for the Jackson County's Junior Appalachian Musicians program.  Please contact him if you would like more information on educational programs or volunteer opportunities.

Office Manager Anne Lane came to museum work rather late as a volunteer for the curator of collections at the Museum of York County in Rock Hill, SC. Her art background was useful here, as was the fact that her family of six people and assorted pets had packed up and moved many times during her childhood. Anne rose to become collections manager for the three sites comprising the Culture & Heritage Museums of York County. She then served as collections manager for ten years at the Charlotte Museum of History. She has made a specialty of custom artifact housings and mounts, teaching many workshops on the topic. She has continued her career here in Cullowhee, working for both the Fine Art Museum and the Mountain Heritage Center.

Curator Pam Meister has served as executive director of the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC), and as director, curator and educator at museums throughout the southeast. Pam has also worked as an adjunct instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University, Georgia College & State University, West Georgia College, and UNC-Charlotte, teaching Museum Studies and Cultural Resource Management since 1993. She is an active Peer Reviewer for the American Association of Museums, and a founding faculty member of SEMC’s annual Jekyll Island Management Institute. She holds a B.A. degree in Theatre (with a minor in History) from the University of New Orleans, and a M.F. A. in Arts Management from the University of Georgia.

Director Scott Philyaw received his B.A. from WCU, his M.A. from the College of William and Mary, and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.  He is recipient of the UNC Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award, the College of Arts & Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching, and served as Scholar in Residence of the 2003 Summer Institute of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.  He is a specialist in the colonial and revolutionary periods and also has strong interests in the American West and public history.

Mountain Heritage Day Festival coordinator Trina Royar is a long time member of both the national and regional dance scene with the Green Grass Cloggers.  She is a former festival events manager for the City of Asheville, served as Executive Director of the Haywood County Arts Council, is a former manager of the Biltmore Estate Special Projects Group, founded the Fiddle Head Music and Dance Camps, and served as chair of Asheville's Downtown After-Five.

Tyler Blethen, professor emeritus of History and former director of the Mountain Heritage Center at Western, has rejoined the staff to help in revising Center exhibits related to the impact of the Scotch-Irish on Appalachian society and to the history of Western Carolina University. 

Newton Smith, professor emeritus in English and former Associate Chief Information Officer at Western, has joined the Mountain Heritage Center to enhance the online Digital Heritage site and the Center's various video and web projects.

Curtis W. Wood is professor emeritus of History, recently retired from Western Carolina University where he taught British and Appalachian history.  He has written about the Scotch-Irish migration and various topics in Appalachian history, with special reference to the history of western North Carolina.  For many years he was Senior Research Associate at the Mountain Heritage Center and is currently working there again on special projects.  Most recently, he served as editor to the award-winning bicentennial history of Haywood County.


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