Student-crafted exhibit explores N.C. barbecue culture, history

An exhibit at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center explores the culture and history of North Carolina barbecue—where it came from, why North Carolinians argue about it and how it brings people together.


“Feeding the Social Fire: Slow-cooked Culture through North Carolina Barbecue” will be on display until Oct. 10. Visitors have the opportunity to rate the side dishes that make barbecue “real barbecue,” guess the secret ingredients in sauces, and discover why barbecue is served at events from church picnics to political fundraisers.

The exhibit was written, designed and built by students in WCU’s “Introduction to Museums” course under the direction of Jessica Swigger, assistant professor of history, and Trevor Jones, curator of the Mountain Heritage Center.