Ferrum College created the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum in the early 1970s to document, interpret, and present the folk heritage of the Blue Ridge region.  Since that time, the Institute has grown steadily, expanding its work throughout Virginia and Appalachia while maintaining an emphasis upon the western portion of the state. 

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum enjoys a national reputation.  From festivals and concerts to exhibits and publications, the BRI offers educational and entertaining programming of unmatched quality and authenticity.  The Institute’s audience spans all ages and backgrounds, enhancing Ferrum College’s educational mission for all.  The major programs of the Institute include:
  • The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival—Virginia’s largest annual celebration of regional folkways, now in its fourth decade.
  • BRI Museum Exhibitions—Heritage exhibitions for museums around the state. 
  • The Blue Ridge Farm Museum—Living history on an 1800 Blue Ridge farmstead.
  • The Blue Ridge Heritage Archives—The permanent repository for folklife-related recordings, photographs, and documents.
  • BRI Recordings—Nearly a century of Virginia folk music in Grammy-nominated compilations.
  • BRI Internet Resources—On-line exhibitions, archive resources, and travelers’ guides for heritage fans and researchers.

A heritage-tourism leader, Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute & Museum is a major venue along The Crooked Road:  Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and a guiding player in tourism efforts in the region.  In recognition of its accomplishments, the Institute was designated The State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore by Governor Gerald Baliles and the Virginia State Legislature in 1986. 

Interested in supporting the BRI?
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The BRI galleries are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., year-round. The galleries are also open Sundays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., mid-May through mid-August. Admission is free.

Click here for contact information and travel directions.