RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - This weekend, the North Carolina Museum of History will open the final part of its largest exhibit ever, "The Story of North Carolina."
Thousands of people have already seen part one of the exhibit, which opened in the spring, but it only skimmed the surface of the state's early history, from North Carolina's earliest inhabitants thru the early 1800's. Part two will continue the journey thru the antebellum era, the Civil War, the rise of industry, the Great Depression, the two World Wars and the Civil Rights movement.
"It is a good survey of the state's history," said Donna Bell-Kite, the North Carolina Museum of History's assistant curator." "It is not going to go into a great amount of detail in any one particular subject, but going thru this exhibit, you should get a good overview of North Carolina's history, from its earliest inhabitants until today."
Hundreds of artifacts help tell the story. Early in the tour, you'll find out about the issue of slavery in North Carolina before the Civil War brought changes, divisions and hardships.
The war's end brought new beginnings and Reconstruction forced difficult changes, including the 1898 Wilmington race riots.
At the turn of the 20th century, North Carolina became an industrial leader in the south, with textiles taking the place of tobacco for a major income producer. And in the 20th century, the state moved onto the national stage, thru the first and second World Wars.
Near the end of the exhibit, there is a display of the sit-in movement in Greensboro, as a reminder of those who struggled for equal rights.
"North Carolina was a state of small farmers and thru out its history, that comes across very well," said Bell-Kite. "We do focus on the movers and shakers, but we made a real point to show all of North Carolina's society, the land owning farmers, the slavery people, just a broad cross-section."
And while the 20,000 square foot exhibit will be featured for many years to come, it will change with time as North Carolina continues to grow, from the early days of tobacco, textiles and industry to the high tech state that we have become.
If you would like to see the full story of North Carolina's history thru this exhibit, the museum hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday thru Saturdays, and noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free.
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