ABOUT Our Vision for the PMSS Archive

For over 100 years Pine Mountain has been focused on enriching lives and connecting people through Appalachian place-based education for all ages.


The Vision of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Archives is to provide a voice that will encourage transformations in our relationship to the cultures of the Appalachian region through access to a unique and extensive body of material about a rural settlement school within the region. The rural settlement school movement and its impact on the people of Eastern Kentucky and the Southern Appalachians is a story that has sometimes been misrepresented, romanticized, or only partially understood. We envision an accessible, deep, vibrant and vital resource that will encourage exploration and collaborative dialogue about the hidden and sometimes contested history of rural settlement schools. We envision a broader dissemination of research materials across all public, private, and federal sectors interested in Southern Appalachian cultures and life. 

Our archival resources encompass over 108 years of the history of Pine Mountain Settlement School and its community. Access to regional rural settlement school archives has often been limited by the need to travel to collections or by their limited accessibility once on site. As a record of the forces that helped shape the Southern Appalachians these archives hold a wealth of history and memory. Further, the communities that formed the history and the memories have rarely been offered easy access to their history and memories.

Online resources now offer an opportunity to broadly share primary sources. With our digital offering of biographies, photographs, documents, media, commentary, and more, we seek to provide an engaging resource. The resources will work to open a virtual window to one corner of a little-understood movement and history. The rural settlement movement in Eastern Kentucky was a large movement but it was not uniform in mission or vision across the individual institutions. For example, Pine Mountain Settlement School, unlike many of its neighbors, was non-sectarian, highly experimental, and progressive in its educational programs. It remains committed to this foundation.

Today, we seek partnerships and collaborations that will enrich and enable broader dialogs on Appalachian cultures and that will ensure that no one voice will erase the many. We are committed to sharing the memories and the disparate voices of Pine Mountain Settlement School and its community as they have moved forward together for over a century in new times and new worlds. While our collections are focused on the twentieth century and a narrow geography, our future is in the twenty-first century as part of the global community. We are committed to a vision that will seek out new ways to grow our history and memories forward as vital and energetic educational models –To ” Enrich lives and connect people through Appalachian place-based education for all ages.”