By Julia Duvall
On March 1, Western Carolina University named Amber Clawson Albert as the new director of the Mountain Heritage Center following the retirement of Pam Meister in December 2022.
Albert brings a wealth of experience as a public historian and preservationist to this role, as well as the following academic credentials: a doctorate in public history from Middle Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in history from the College of Charleston and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Appalachian State University.
“I am thrilled to be at WCU. I have family ties to this area and grew up in Boone, so it feels like home,” Albert said. “In my previous roles I really came to love grassroots collaboration and I am excited for our students to learn through service.”
Albert served as the manager of Community and Academic Learning at Reynolda House Museum of American Art at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem the past four years. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Historical Association of Catawba County, and research assistant at the Middle Tennessee State University Center for Historic Preservation.
“With my professional background in historic preservation and historic site management, this is a great opportunity for the Mountain Heritage Center to become a practical education center for our students,” Albert said. “How we tell our stories is so important and this will give students the opportunity to curate projects from start to finish, and at the same time driving tourism to the center and to our area.”
There will be an open house and reception to welcome Albert on Thursday, April 13, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. with brief remarks at 4 p.m. in the Mountain Heritage Center gallery located in Hunter Library.
Light refreshments and a tour of the latest installation, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” from the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Services, will be offered to those attending.
The Mountain Heritage Center was created in 1975 to research and celebrate Southern Appalachia’s cultural heritage and history from artifacts collected starting in the 1920s. The center’s staff work with faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors and community members to discover the rich traditions of our region, examine them through new perspectives and to increase understanding of the people and cultures that call the area home.
For more information about the Mountain Heritage Center, visit mhc.wcu.edu or the office and gallery in Hunter Library.