Get ready to set out on a search for medicinal mushrooms with Willie Dodson when the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center presents a series of virtual lectures that explore regional history and identity of the Appalachian experience.

OK, so while you may not be trekking through the backcountry just yet, the talk will provide the perfect roadmap of where to start a future foraging adventure. Be sure to stick around after the lecture, where a Q&A is scheduled for guests seeking additional insight.

“Hunting Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms” will get underway via Zoom from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. on Monday, May 10. The talk is part of an online series of discussions developed by the museum that explore regional history and identity.

Appalachia encompasses incredible biodiversity, a rich history of resilience and ingenuity, unique food ways, influential musical traditions and much more. The series, consisting of eight lectures presented by researchers and experts from across the country, will examine the many aspects of what makes Appalachia a remarkable place, from discussing the global ginseng trade to exploring indigenous identity to discussing music traditions to sharing stories of Scots-Irish immigration.

The series was inspired by the museum’s commitment to interpreting Swannanoa Valley history, said events coordinator Saro Lynch-Thomason.

“As a museum that interprets local history, we often see similarities between what locals experienced here and what their neighbors experienced elsewhere in southern Appalachia. Deforestation, enslavement, tourism, folk traditions — so many of the historic details of life in Western North Carolina were part of larger patterns that affected people across the mountain South. We wanted to create a series that helped audiences to understand the connections between local and regional experiences,” she said.

The museum’s successful launch of several virtual events during the onset of the COVID pandemic encouraged museum staff to continue to offer online events in 2021.

“In 2021, we realized that there was an international audience of people interested in learning more about this region,” added Lynch-Thomason. “We’re excited to use Zoom to accommodate locals, as well as people from different parts of the world who want to learn more about Appalachia.”

Each lecture is $8 for museum members; $12 for nonmembers. Zoom links will be provided upon registration.

Recordings of each event will be made available on YouTube for registrants. Registration and event details can be found at Direct questions about the series to Lynch-Thomason at or 828-669-9566.

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