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North Carolina Museum Of History

Local Youth Take History Awards

You Are Here! – The North Carolina Museum of History

For the ninth year in a row, local students brought home awards from the state Tar Heel Junior Historians Conference in Raleigh.

The Jesse Franklin Pioneers Tar Heel Junior Historians Club at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History traveled to the North Carolina State Museum of History recently for the competition. They participated in workshops on topics from the Freedom Riders to quilt-making and learned the outcome of the state-wide competitions.

In the end, Alexavier Pell, Walker York, and Kieran Slate, all sixth graders, and Brooks Harold, James Caudill and Tucker Keck, seventh graders, won the Group Exhibit Contest for their age division. Ava Thomason, sixth grade, Cora Branch, Ellie Edwards, and Savannah Allan, all seventh graders, took second place for Group Literary Contest for their division as well.

Individual awards were won by Ryan Harris, Evan Boyd, Ava Thomason, Cora Branch, James Caudill, and Savannah Allen.

Eighteen students, fourth- seventh grade, dug into various aspects of North Carolina History for the past eight months and created literary, artwork, scrapbook, video, or photographic entries with well-documented research on topics ranging from family links to the Surry tradition of Breaking Up Christmas, to the mystery of the Roanoke Colony to the colorful artistry of North Carolina painter Minnie Evans.

The winning entries will be on display in the state museum for the next year.

Winning Entries

Blue Ridge Road And The Stone Building

Choosing the Blue Ridge Road site was controversial. Opponents thought that the Museum should remain downtown near the Capitol, other museums, and public buildings, and legislative bills were introduced to that effect. But the Building Commission did not waver it chose the Blue Ridge site, as it was accessible to the interstate and had plenty of room for expansion and parking.

The Blue Ridge Road site, just south of Rex Hospital on the western edge of Raleigh, has a colorful history. Beginning with Native American inhabitants, it later was a Civil War training site, and later the site of Polk Youth Prison for juvenile offenders. The youth prison was relocated, and only a smokestack remains as a reminder.

Designed by Edward Durell Stone and Associates of New York and Holloway-Reeves Architects of North Carolina, the new building opened in 1983. Stones experience included the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh.

Stone used spatial experimentation with pure geometric form for the Museum by using a square as a basic unit and designing the entire site by manipulating the square form.

Because of inflation and delays in site approval, the final building was not completed as originally planned. But even with its reduced size, at 181,000 square feet it was four times the square footage of the Morgan Street location and had twice the exhibition space.

Colonial Period And Revolutionary War

After the Spanish in the 16th century, the first permanent European settlers of North Carolina were English colonists who migrated south from Virginia. The latter had grown rapidly and land was less available. Nathaniel Batts was documented as one of the first of these Virginian migrants. He settled south of the Chowan River and east of the Great Dismal Swamp in 1655. By 1663, this northeastern area of the Province of Carolina, known as the Albemarle Settlements, was undergoing full-scale English settlement. During the same period, the English monarch Charles II gave the province to the Lords Proprietors, a group of noblemen who had helped restore him to the throne in 1660. The new Province of Carolina was named in honor and memory of his father, Charles I . A large revolt happened in the state in 1711, known as Cary’s Rebellion. In 1712, North Carolina became a separate colony. Except for the Earl Granville holdings, it became a royal colony seventeen years later.

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Would I Recommend A Visit

Absolutely. My visit to the North Carolina Museum of History remains one of the highlights of my trip. If youre a big history buff, I would suggest planning two half-days at the museum. Though The Story of North Carolina was exciting and educational, we were certainly hungry after the three hours!

Mount Airy Museum Of Regional History

North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, N.C.

Ours is an all American story – typical of how communities grew up all across our great nation. While our story takes place in the back country of northwestern North Carolina at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is likely to bear many similarities to the development of crossroads, towns, and cities throughout America.It had taken little more than 100 years for the corridors along the coastline of this still-new continent to overflow. As tensions grew and conflicts flared, the pioneer spirit set in. Families literally packed up everything they owned and headed into the unknown-searching for the “promised land.”

Mission Statement:

The Purpose of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is to Collect, Preserve and Interpret the Natural, Historic, and Artistic Heritage of the Region

Adopted by the Board of Directors October 9, 1995

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Reconstruction Era Through Late 19th Century

Following the collapse of the Confederacy in 1865, North Carolina, along with the rest of the former Confederate States, was put under direct control by the U.S. military and was relieved of its constitutional government and representation within the United States Congress in what is now referred to as the Reconstruction era. In order to earn back its rights, the state had to make concessions to Washington, one of which was ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment. Congressional Republicans during Reconstruction, commonly referred to as “radical Republicans“, constantly pushed for new constitutions for each of the Southern states that emphasized equal rights for African-Americans. In 1868, a constitutional convention restored the state government of North Carolina. Though the Fifteenth Amendment was also adopted that same year, it remained in most cases ineffective for almost a century, not to mention paramilitary groups and their lynching with impunity.

The elections in April 1868 following the constitutional convention led to a narrow victory for a Republican-dominated government, with 19 African-Americans holding positions in the North Carolina State Legislature. In attempt to put the reforms into effect, the new Republican Governor William W. Holden declared martial law on any county allegedly not complying with law and order using the passage of the Shoffner Act.

What Was My Impression Of North Carolinas History Museum

Overall, I found the exhibition to be inclusive of multiple historical perspectives. Focus on indigenous peoples does wane after the 19th century subsections on home life. I would personally like to see further focus on indigenous peoples through the exhibition, with topics such as residential schools and indigenous peoples roles in civil rights movements expanded. Calling for the further inclusion of other minorities, such as other immigrants beside the British or English speakers would diversify the collection.

Though the museum did play it safe in sections, the exhibition covers an impressive amount of history through stories, plaques, artifacts, models, and films. The space the exhibition occupies is one of the largest I have seen. The layout is organized, making sure that the visitor knows which way to continue without missing anything. Level flooring and large pathways makes the space easily accessible. Plaques are well written and presented in a clear colour palette.

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Popular World War I Exhibit Extended At North Carolina Museum Of History

North Carolina Museum of History

Due to popular demand, the North Carolina Museum of History will extend one of its most-loved exhibits, NORTH CAROLINA AND WORLD WAR I.

The exhibit will now be open through May 27, 2019 . “North Carolina & World War I” is a free, award-winning exhibit commemorating the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I and focuses on North Carolinas role in the War to End All Wars on the western front in France and Belgium. Visitors will experience a re-created trench warfare environment to discover what life was like for Tar Heel soldiers, who entered the war in 1917.

Visitation to the record-breaking exhibit has soared since its April 2017 openingsurpassing half a million visitors in October 2018 and reaching nearly 550,000 by the end of the year, further cementing its status as the most-visited temporary exhibit ever created by the North Carolina Museum of History.

Its a great privilege to share our North Carolina & World War I exhibit with more than half a million visitors from across the state, the country, and the world, said Ken Howard, director of the North Carolina Museum of History. The museum staff has done a tremendous job creating an exhibit that is much more of an experience than just artifact cases and text on a wall.

Information can be found here:

Museum Reopens For Public

North Carolina Museum of History – 1920s Drugstore Exhibit Tour

The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History opened her doors for the first time in almost six months last weekend.

We scrambled to put spring decorations away in the gift shop to set up hand sanitation stations to shine up the stainless steel of the elevator doors to make sure the exhibit spaces were fresh and dusted and presentable for our guests. We joked that wed forgotten how to be open.

And we wondered if anyone would come. Would a history museum be on the list of places to go for the folks out and about for Labor Day?

We neednt have worried. Come Saturday morning, as we prepared to unlock the doors, there were folks waiting in the courtyard!

This year, 2020, was to have been the beginning of an exciting renovation for the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. The first major overhaul and expansion of exhibits in more than a decade.

Work began in December 2019 and we were moving ahead slowly as the New Years Eve Pajama Rama Party happened, followed by some birthday party rentals and a wedding. We were carefully packing artifacts away when COVID-19 arrived on American shores.

The work was just getting messy when Gov. Cooper closed museums in an abundance of caution. We hunkered down, determined to take advantage of the down time to barrel ahead with the work.

We were, I will admit, caught happily off-guard when Gov. Cooper announced on Sept. 1 that museums could open for the first time since March.

Of that number, though, only 7.5% are history museums.

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North Carolina Sports Hall Of Fame

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is housed in a 4,000 square feet permanent exhibit gallery on the third floor of the North Carolina Museum of History. The hall of fame was originally established in February 1963, with support from the CharlotteChamber of Commerce, “celebrates excellence and extraordinary achievement in athletics commemorates and memorializes exceptional accomplishments in or connected with the world of sports who have brought recognition and esteem to themselves and to the State of North Carolina.” The hall inducted its first class of five members in December of that year and, as of 2010, numbered 274 members.

Since the beginning, inductees, who are elected annually, have donated mementos of their sports careers to the hall of fame. In 1969 officials at the Charlotte Coliseum agreed to display these objects in the corridor of the building, hoping to eventually expand the building to include a room dedicated to the hall. The expansion never occurred, however, and in 1981 the objects were moved to the North Carolina Museum of History, where a dedicated gallery was a part of the new museum’s plans.

Tar Heel Junior Historian Association

One of the North Carolina Museum of History’s best known outreach programs is the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association . THJHA inspires and empowers North Carolina students to discover local and state historyin an active, hands-on way. The association also encourages junior historians to share what they learn, often through projects that are planned and completed by students. Many projects are entered into contests and shared during the THJHA Annual Convention in Raleigh. Award-winning projects often become a part of the association’s gallery, History in Every Direction.

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Years Of North Carolina History

North Carolina has a fascinating history, and if you want to discover all of it in a dynamic and immersive setting, then the North Carolina Museum of History is the place to go. Located in downtown Raleigh, the museum showcases more than 14,000 years and 150,000 artifacts of N.C. history.

One of the museums permanent exhibits, The Story of North Carolina, holds amazing multimedia presentations, dioramas and interactive features, along with two, full-size historic houses and many recreated environments.

Temporary exhibits are always being featuredcheck out what’s going on, here. Past exhibits have included The Boomer List: Photography by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, which featured 20 large-format portraits of some of the most fascinating Americans born during the period after World War II the baby boom generation. Another popular exhibit, North Carolinas Favorite Son: Billy Graham and his Remarkable Journey of Faith, explored the life and legacy of the American evangelist who preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history.

In addition to Billy Graham, the museum explores other legendary North Carolinians, including First Lady Dolley Madison, adventurer Daniel Boone, Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald, Lumbee folk hero Henry Berry Lowry, educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown and basketball great Michael Jordan.

Violence Forced Migration And Slavery

North Carolina Museum of History

On the topic of immigration and culture sharing, its important to recognize that many of these relationships were not positive. Interactions with European settlers also meant hostilities, loss of resources, deaths, and enslavement of Indigenous people.

When their populations declined due to this inhumane treatment, those of African descent were forced to migrate from either Africa or other colonies to be used as slaves. Slavery and racism are some of the biggest recurring topics throughout the exhibition.

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Largest Combined Statistical Areas

North Carolina has three major Combined Statistical Areas with populations of more than 1.6 million :

  • Charlotte Metro: CharlotteConcordGastonia, North CarolinaSouth Carolina population 2,728,933
  • Research Triangle: RaleighDurhamChapel Hill, North Carolina population 2,238,315
  • Piedmont Triad: GreensboroWinston-SalemHigh Point, North Carolina population 1,677,551
1.3% 2.3%

At the 2010 U.S. census, the racial composition of North Carolina was: White: 68.5% , Black or African American: 21.5%, Latin and Hispanic American of any race: 8.4%, some other race: 4.3%, Multiracial American: 2.2%, Asian American: 2.2%, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 1%. In 2020, North Carolina like much of the U.S. experienced a decline in its non-Hispanic white population at the 2020 census, non-Hispanic whites were 62.2%, Blacks or African Americans 20.5%, American Indian and Alaska Natives 1.2%, Asians 3.3%, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders 0.1%, people from other race 5.9%, and multiracial Americans 6.8%.


North Carolina is home to a spectrum of different dialects of Southern American English and Appalachian English.

Other faith 1%

The state also has a special history with the Moravian Church, as settlers of this faith settled in the Winston-Salem area in the 18th and 19th centuries. Presbyterians, historically Scots-Irish, have had a strong presence in Charlotte and in Scotland County.

North Carolina History Museums

Our state history museums seek to capture the spirit of North Carolina and its people by interpreting more than 14,000 years of history through interactive and informative exhibits and engaging programming, and preserving a collection of more than 350,000 objects. At North Carolina’s public history museums you’ll find everything from a sword recovered from Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revnege, to the complete Cumberland County workshop of gun inventor “Carbine Williams.”

The flagship North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh tells the story of the Old North State as a whole, while six regional museums–including three museums focused on maritime history–in Beaufort, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Hatteras, Old Fort and Southport spotlight the unique heritage of many of North Carolina’s diverse places.

All seven museums encourage you to discover the Tar Heel States past and to reflect on your life and place in history.

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Segregation And The Civil Rights Movement

The exhibition comes to a close with the civil rights movement. Examples of segregation, such as the Colored and White doorways shown below, let the visitor see the divisions that Jim Crow laws maintained. Protesting racism meant standing up against the status quo, and the exhibition spotlights stories of riots, protests, and changes to laws. Many of the states social, economic, political and other structures were built on racism. Just like other states or countries, the legacy of racism impacts the present.

Things To See Nc Museum Of History

NC NOW | Ken Howard/Director, NC Museum of History | UNC-TV


HOURS: 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday, Noon-5pm SundayCOST: FREETIME TO COMPLETE: 2-3 hoursACCOMODATIONS: Large parking lot, public restrooms, restaurant and Museum Store

The NC Museum of History is chalk full of wonderful displays, fascinating tidbits and interesting facts about the Tar Heel state.

History museums are a smörgåsbord of fun facts and appreciation for all that has preceded us. North Carolina, in particular, is so rich in history, personalities and conflict that the NC Museum of History celebrating its past has nary a dull moment. From the early settlers, the battle for independence, slavery and two World Wars the museum does an excellent job of showing how these events, and others, impacted the residents of the Tar Heel state.

Located across the quad from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in beautiful downtown Raleigh, the ground floor of the NC Museum of History is laid out chronologically but there are also external exhibits on the 2nd and 3rdfloors that are either temporary or are large enough to have their own space like the NC Sports Hall of Fame. The exhibits are cleverly positioned and situated to provide maximum impact and context.

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