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Forged in Fire: Rural Blacksmiths in NC Exhibit Opening

The Tobacco Farm Life Museum is excited to announce the opening of the museum’s newest exhibit, Forged in Fire: Rural Blacksmiths, which was completed with support from the Mid West Tool Collectors Association. The new exhibit consists of graphic panels installed in the museum’s fully-functioning reproduction of a farm workshop. The exhibit opening reception was held on November 16th and included blacksmith demonstrations, speakers, and refreshments.

The new exhibit focuses on the basics of blacksmithing and the importance of blacksmithing skills for farmers in the period between 1880 and 1950.

“The goal for this exhibit is to provide background information for visitors so that they can better understand why this workshop is at a museum about farm life, to better understand the relationship between blacksmithing and farming, and to have more context when viewing the tools in the shop,” says the exhibit’s curator, Beth Nevarez, who works with the museum’s collection of historical artifacts.

In addition to providing information on blacksmithing, tools of the trade, and its relationship to farm life, the exhibit also includes historic photographs of local blacksmith shops and features several QR codes which can be scanned with smart phone cameras, without downloading any additional apps. These codes pull up videos that provide more information and visuals for visitors interested in learning more.

The workshop is one of seven historic or reproduction buildings on site that bring history to life for the museum’s visitors. The museum also includes a 6,000-square-foot gallery of exhibit space detailing life on farms in eastern NC, including information on farming itself, but also daily life, community, religion, medicine, and more in 19th and 20th-century North Carolina.

“We are excited to work once again with the Mid West Tool Collectors Association on this exhibit. The M-WTCA was also responsible for helping us to set up the current workshop, providing expertise on tools to include, as well as installing the functioning line shaft and lathe. We are so grateful for their support. This exhibit will add so much to the visitor experience.” says Melody Worthington, executive director of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum.

The exhibit’s sponsor says of its support of the Museum: “Mid West Tool Collectors Association is both proud and pleased to support the TFLM as a part of our Preservation and Education focus. M-WTCA is a national nonprofit association for those that collect, use and just appreciate antique and traditional primarily wood and metal working tools.” To find out more, please visit their website at

Forged in Fire: Rural Blacksmiths is currently on view and is included as part of regular admission for visitors.

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