North Carolina Museum of History

NC Museum of History

The idea of quilting may conjure an image of sorting through old scraps of material and patching them together to make a blanket. But in pre-Civil War America, quilting was a hobby primarily reserved for the wealthy. Only families of means could afford fabric and spare the leisure time. The woman of the house often had slaves or servants to assist with her quilting, and those quilts were a sign of social status.

Courtesy of the estate of Ernie Barnes

He was raised in “the bottoms” section of Durham, but Ernie Barnes would leave the Triangle to become one of the most recognizable black artists of the time. Anyone who has ever seen the opening credits of the sitcom “Good Times,” has seen the art of Ernie Barnes.

Steven Caras

African-American women have fought against discrimination in the ballet world for decades. Debra Austin was the first black ballerina to become a principal dancer in a major American dance company. She broke through the racial barrier, but her career was not without challenges.


photo of a dress designed by Willie Kay
North Carolina Museum of History

For much of the 20th century, Willie Otey Kay was a household name among the fashion-conscious in Raleigh. The designer and dressmaker crafted one-of-a-kind fashion for women to wear to weddings, debutante balls, and other formal events.

A Republican congressman charts his course in a Democratic capital.
The Martin Family

Jim Martin was the first and only two-term Republican governor in North Carolina, serving from 1985-1993.

 

Cast of 'The Womanless Wedding', 1890 Trinity College Drama Group
Duke University Archives

"Stranger than Fiction: True Stories Found in NCpedia" is a special event which will be held Saturday September 13 at the North Carolina Museum of History. A panel of experts will share lesser-known stories from North Carolina's history.

Here are five such stories from NCpedia, the online encyclopedia of all things North Carolina:

1. There's a tradition in the state for men to get dressed up and hold 'Womanless Weddings'

The confederate flag with a star cut out, preserved for the NC Museum of History.
NC Museum of History

A battle-worn confederate flag has undergone a $6500 dollar preservation and has now been returned to the North Carolina Museum of History. The flag was lost in the final months of the Civil War and was carried by the 6th Regiment of North Carolina in the Battle of Sailor's Creek in Virginia. It was captured by Union forces in 1865.

Jackson Marshall, the museum's assistant director of programming, says the flag has been cleaned and placed under glass in an acid-free environment that should last another 50 years.

Officers with flag
North Carolina Museum of History

On May 12, 1864 during the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse in Virginia, a Union soldier in hand-to-hand combat with a North Carolina standard-bearer tore the battle flag right off its staff. The flag ripped along its left border, the color-bearer was captured and imprisoned, and the Union soldier who seized the flag was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his deed. Today, the historic flag is on display at the North Carolina Museum of History.

National Archives, Washington, D.C.

From May 15 through June 16, the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation will be on display in the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. The historical seven-page document is on loan from the National Archives in Washington, D.C..

When I Leave

Oct 3, 2012
Linda Powell-Jones, Photography, LLC

Ella Joyce Stewart grew up on a farm in rural North Carolina during the time of segregation.

Blakely Cannon at NC Museum of History
NC Dept of Cultural Resources / http://www.ncdcr.gov

A cannon that saw service in Wilmington during the Civil War will now mark the plaza in front of the North Carolina Museum of History. The Raleigh museum is unveiling the artifact later this morning, adding to its exhibits marking the sesquicentennial of the conflict.

Miss North Carolina Museum Exhibit Opens

Jun 23, 2012

The 75th Miss North Carolina will be crowned Saturday. And part of the anniversary bash includes a new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History.

Asma Khalid: The exhibit offers a rare glimpse into the pageant's history. It includes evening gowns and swimsuits, of course. But Jennifer Vaden-Barth says the exhibit is more than glitz and glamor. She says it shows folks the pageant is still important today, by focusing on service and talent.

A Civil War artifact is back in North Carolina to help commemorate the battle of New Bern.

Jeff Tiberii: On March 14th, 1862 nearly 500 soliders were wounded at the Battle of New Bern. A Massachusetts made cannon began that day in confederate hands. It had been used in the early part of the Civil War in Eastern North Carolina. However, the Amherst Cannon was seized by it’s original Union owners in the fight. Dr. Jeanne Marie Warzeski is curator at the North Carolina Museum of History.

The North Carolina Museum of History will open its biggest exhibit to date on Saturday. "The Story of North Carolina" includes re-created environments to help visitors transport back in time. For example, they can step inside an early twentieth century textile mill and feel the floor shake from operating machinery. RaeLana Poteat helps curate the exhibit at the Museum of History.

The North Carolina Museum of History launched a new online exhibit today that takes a close-up look at the struggle for equal and civil rights across the state. 

As soon as you log onto the website – you are serenaded by Sam Cooke.  The name of the exhibit is “A Change is Gonna Come: Black, Indian and White Voices for Racial Equality.”  It covers the years 1830 to 1980 – from the Indian Removal Act to the rise and fall of Soul City.  Earl Ijames is the curator of the exhibit. He says it was going to be a physical exhibit before the 2008 recession.

The entrance of an exhibit resembling a 1700s pirate ship
N.C. Museum of History

The history of the Tar Heel State goes on display tomorrow at theNorth Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Officials say The Story of North Carolina is so large the exhibit will open in two parts. The first half begins with the earliest signs of civilization and runs through the 1830s. Raelana Poteat is one of the museum's curators.