George and Edith Vanderbilt took a personal interest in helping their community become more self-sufficient. They believed that education provided a means for people to improve not only their own lives, but the lives of their children as well.
Through opportunities like adult literacy classes and practical internships, the Vanderbilts encouraged people to succeed. Edith Vanderbilt founded Biltmore Estate Industries, an enterprise based around traditional wood carving, weaving, and furniture-building skills associated with the Western North Carolina region. This initiative developed into a cottage industry that provided jobs and economic improvement for many in the community.
By 1914, Edith Vanderbilt became aware of a movement that focused on teaching illiterate adults how to read and write, with teachers volunteering their time to teach adults at night in the same schools where they instructed children during the day. Recognizing that many workers and their family members who lived at Biltmore were illiterate, she founded a Moonlight School on the estate, and also became an official spokesperson for the Moonlight Schools, appearing in public to gain support for the endeavor.
At Biltmore, we are eager to share more of our stories with you and your students during your visit. In addition to its natural beauty and grand architecture, Biltmore also reflects the Vanderbilt’s interests in providing a warm welcome and gracious hospitality to their guests. They created a home that would last for generations, where guests still come to escape the pressures of everyday life and spend time with friends and family.
We believe that you and your students will find our educational programs enriching and enjoyable. We are honored to inspire students to develop a new love of learning.
A Legacy of Learning
George Vanderbilt’s quest for knowledge was a lifelong passion, and his legacy of learning continues today. Biltmore’s programs for students include musical performances, experiential and educational Biltmore House tours, Homeschool Days, higher education events, and more. We look forward to sharing Biltmore with your educational group.