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Saving Stories: Appalshop races to rescue flood-damaged, irreplaceable materials

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Deirdre Scaggs

A cultural center known for chronicling Appalachian life is cleaning up and assessing its losses. Like much of its stricken region, Appalshop has been swamped by historic flooding. The water inundated downtown Whitesburg in southeastern Kentucky, causing extensive damage to the renowned repository of Appalachian history and culture. Some losses are likely permanent, after raging waters soaked or swept away some of Appalshop’s treasure trove of historic material.

Dr. Doug Boyd, director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History and colleagues from the UK Libraries traveled this week to Appalshop to help
save as many irreplaceable materials as possible.

In this special edition of WUKY’s award winning history program Saving Stories, Doug talks about the devastation he saw and highlights the special relationship the Nunn Center has with Appalshop.

An oral history project launched in 2015 explored the legacies and impact of Appalshop by documenting the lives of people who have been a part of its story. A Kentucky-based organization, Appalshop has been making media and art since its founding in 1969.

This project is a partnership involving historian Jeffrey A. Keith and the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries, and Warren Wilson College with partial funding provided by the Kentucky Oral History Commission and the Appalachian College Association.

Access the collection here:


Information on how you can help Appalshop is here:


Bitten by the radio bug as a teenager, Alan Lytle got his start start more than 30 years ago volunteering in Clermont County, Ohio for WOBO-FM. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Broadcasting from the University of Cincinnati and worked at a variety of radio stations in the Cincinnati market, then made the move to Lexington in the mid-1990s.