Women's, quilts month celebrated at Highlands

Mar. 14—ASHLAND — The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center is celebrating March with an exhibit called "Women's History Month," which features women from the region who have made an impact on the community.

Curator Heather Akers said some of those women include: "Colonel" Annie Poage, the first female Kentucky Colonel; Emma Brown Horton, a beloved teacher at the Booker T. Washington School; and professional tennis player Julie Ditty.

Included in the exhibit are:

—Mabel Hite, who was born in Ashland in 1883, was a successful vaudeville performer. She married baseball player Mike Donlin, who eventually joined her on stage in comic, baseball-themed skits.

—Venus Ramey, born in Ashland in 1924. She was the first redhead to win the Miss America Pageant in 1944. She would use her influence to sell $5 million in war bonds. Her likeness was painted on the nose of the 301st Bombardment Group's B-17 bomber. Ramey became an activist who fought for many different issues.

—The Judds. The mother-and-daughter singing duo gained fame with the single "Mama He's Crazy," which went to No. 1 and won them their first Grammy. During their career, the Judds had six albums, five Grammys, nine CMA awards and eight ACM awards.

—Joy Griffiths, the daughter of Troy Fairchild, who started Fairchild Buick Cadillac Pontiac, Inc. in 1927. She joined the family business in 1950 and ran the company until her retirement in 1987. She was the second woman in the United States to be an automobile dealer.

—Judy Fannin and her husband, Cecil, ran a series of KFC Franchises in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Fannin was a champion for many issues and organizations locally and nationally. She was appointed to the Kentucky Women's Commission in the 1980s and was a delegate at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. She promoted the Highlands Museum, the Paramount Arts Center and many other local organizations.

—Kelva Nelson was a well-known and loved teacher in the Ashland school system. She taught at Crabbe Elementary for 33 years. In 2007, she was awarded the American Star of Teaching, the only Kentuckian to receive this award. Her father, the late Elzie Thomas, was pastor of Christ Temple Church for more than 50 years, and she also served Christ Temple for decades as a Sunday school teacher, in the choir and in many other capacities.

"We would like to make this Women's History exhibit an annual thing, so I have a table with paper out so guests can write suggestions for future women to celebrate," Whitman said. "Only condition is that they either were born or lived in Ashland, and made some sort of impact on the community."

In addition to March being International Women's Month, it's National Quilt Month, and the Highlands will display a selection of quilts through March 23. Some of the types of quilts displayed are:

—Bowtie, often used for men or boys' quilts, as it was considered a masculine pattern.

—Lonestar, or "Mathematical Star," came to represent Texas independence. It's also known as "Star of Bethlehem" or "Star of the East."

—Diamond in a Square, also sometimes called "Square in a Square," the style is popular in the Amish community.

—Double Pyramid dates to at least the 1850s, and is sometimes called "Dove at the Window" or "Cat's Cradle."

—Signature quilts were often made to be given as going away presents. They also made good items for fundraisers.

—Around the World or "Trip Around the World" or "Postage Stamp" is a popular pattern with quilters during the Great Depression. The use of scraps of material from other projects made for an economical creation.

The museum is at 1620 Winchester Ave. For more information, call (606) 329-8888.

(606) 326-2661 — lward@dailyindependent.com