The Liston B. Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies

The Ramsey Center, named after four-time speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Liston B. Ramsey, is located in the Renfro Library building on the Mars Hill University campus. Entry is from the Bailey Street parking lot. It houses archival resources for teaching and scholarship in its Southern Appalachian Archives and Appalachian Reading Room. Our extensive holdings—photographs, manuscripts, sound recordings, and artifacts—document aspects of mountain life and culture of interest to scholars here and abroad, holdings that have been called some of the finest in the southeastern region of the United States. These materials have been and continue to be collected by mountain people dedicated to the preservation of local culture. Watch a video introduction here.

The Ramsey Center is central to the university’s regional studies emphasis, and it offers a venue in which the surrounding community and faculty and students come together for a variety of regional programs. At the Ramsey Center, Southern Appalachia’s rich history and culture come alive through events, festivals, and exhibitions, as well as the ongoing work of dedicated scholars, teachers, students, and community members.

Ramsey Center Mission Statement: The Liston B. Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies at Mars Hill University connects the campus with the wider community to explore the history, culture, and environment of the Southern Appalachian region. The Ramsey Center preserves and provides access to resources for this study through its  programs and Southern Appalachian Archives. The Center shares Mars Hill University’s commitment to local and global engagement, to service, and to experiential learning.

Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies Statement on Diversity and Inclusion: Appalachian Studies has its roots in social justice scholarship and activism. Central to the discipline are the celebration of diversity and the upending of stereotypes. This is a dynamic learning process, but is the ideal to which the discipline aspires. The Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies believes in kindness, open intellectual inquiry, critical reasoning, evidence-based arguments, creativity, shared humanity, and the power of listening to and lifting up one another’s stories. We believe that these qualities help foster an inclusive and just democratic campus and society.

We firmly state our solidarity with individuals and groups who are oppressed, unheard, or at risk. We disavow all racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, classism, ableism, and hate speech or other actions that attempt to silence, threaten, and degrade others.

Lastly, we recognize that we interact on a daily basis with infrastructure built by the unpaid labor of enslaved and imprisoned people – the majority of whom were Black Americans. We further recognize that this infrastructure is located on lands once lived on and cared for solely by the Cherokee and other First Peoples. The Anglicized place names now often used for Western North Carolina’s rivers mountains, and population centers are not the only names they have known.

An endowment in support of the Ramsey Center’s Southern Appalachian Archives has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities :  Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Ramsey Center and the Southern Appalachian Archives are open by appointment only.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact:
Karen Paar (Archives): (828) 689-1262 or
Leila Weinstein (Ramsey Center): (828) 689-1115 or
Event Parking:
Events before 6 pm on a weekday: parking lot on Bailey Street just next to the Greenway and across the street from Chambers Gym.
Events after 6 pm or on a weekend:  park in any available green or white “faculty” or “student” parking space.

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