Our Story: Life in the Albemarle
The Albemarle is a unique place—half land, half water. Our ever changing relationship with the water has defined our way of life. Water is both a highway and a barrier, a source of livelihood and inspiration. The story of this place is Our Story, a tale of how our communities have adapted to challenges and opportunities of our unusual home. This is a long-term exhibit with no closing date.
North Carolina Shad Boat
The Official State Historic Boat of North Carolina was first built in the early 1880s by George Washington Creef of Roanoke Island. The shad boat on display here at MOA was built in 1904 by renowned boat builder and decoy carver, Alvirah Wright. This is a long-term exhibit with no closing date.
River Bridge: Sunken Secrets
This exhibition is based on excavations at a site along the Pasquotank River north of Elizabeth City. The site’s name comes from a bridge built before the Revolutionary War and noted by George Washington when he visited the area. At one time, ships could navigate to a customshouse and a set of warehouses, where workers unloaded and loaded cargo. Today, the only reminders of this once-important center of commerce include a few pilings and several vessels submerged just below the river’s surface, as well as a large collection of artifacts spotlighted in this exhibit.
Excavations at the River Bridge site over the past seven years have yielded over 10,000 artifacts that date from the middle of the 18th century to the early 20th century. The artifacts’ condition, and the fact that many items remain intact, makes the site unique. These objects provide a glimpse into colonial and Federal period trade patterns in eastern North Carolina.
The River Bridge site was first issued a permit number from the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology in 2011 with an objective to “explore a location in the Pasquotank River noted as an early colonial port.” The underwater excavations have yielded artifacts from pearlware, creamware, gray salt-glazed Westerwald stoneware, and earthenware dairy pans to case bottles and flasks, axes, faunal and botanical artifacts, shoes, shingles, and personal effects including chamber pots, scissors, and buttons.
River Bridge: Sunken Secrets remains on view until February 2022.
High on the Hog
The expression “half land, half water” describes the area of northeastern North Carolina. And on that land, hogs have been raised, butchered, and processed for generations. Hogs have found their way into our lives and culture, playing a significant role for families in northeastern North Carolina. Whether a vital source of food and income for regional families or an ingredient in recipes and medicinal and everyday products, hogs are considered cultural icons. The High on the Hog exhibition will look at how pigs have become a part of our family, home, and livelihood.
Artifacts on display in the exhibit will include hog catchers, bills of sales, account books, plantation records, hog scrapers, cookbooks, hog scalding vat, butcher knives, a crackling press, lard paddles, a butcher block and prize-winning State Fair banners.
High on the Hog remains on view until July, 2022.
Temperance & Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition
Temperance & Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition is a exhibit featuring informational panels discussing the federal law’s effects on northeastern North Carolina and artifacts including moonshine stills, a temperance medal, and wine and whiskey bottles.
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution banned production, sale, importation, exportation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Enforced by the Volstead Act in January 1920, this law had a lasting effect on rural areas such as northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.
Imagine that exactly at midnight, the whole country went “dry”! How did people react? Had the government taken away personal leisure? People’s lives were changing, as well as the nation.The 21st Amendment, ratified in December 1933, ended Prohibition on a federal level, though North Carolina voted to not ratify the amendment. Prohibition in the state did not “end” until 1937, when a board of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) was established and turned decisions about alcohol sales over to counties and municipalities. Neighboring state Virginia had ratified the amendment in 1933.
Was Prohibition a failure or a success? Was it an issue of political controversy? Would better law enforcement or more funds have made any difference in its impact? Were the losses of tax revenue and income for workers—such as farmers who lost wages due to the decrease in corn and fruit sales—too heavy of a burden for the country to bear? Did law-abiding citizens turn into criminals by bootlegging, and patronizing speakeasies? Does a recent ban on the sale of 95 percent pure alcohol in locations except ABC stores mark renewed support for Prohibition? What about the outlawing of caffeinated alcoholic beverages? Could a type of Prohibition rise again in the 21st century? Plan to visit and find out.
Temperance & Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition, remains on view until April, 2021.
The Day The Lights Came On
The Day The Lights Came On is an interactive exhibit featuring how the power of electricity changes people’s lives and businesses in the Albemarle region.
Large towns in northeastern North Carolina were introduced to electricity around 1890. Electricity became more widespread to rural communities by the 1950s. Power meant access to new inventions. Electricity was new, especially to those who had lived their entire lives without it. Homes could use electric appliances such as radios, irons, refrigerators, washing machines, electric stoves, and vacuum cleaners. Farms began using electric milking machines, electric coolers, electric heaters, and automatic waterers. Florists, morgues, candy factories, ice plants, textile mills, saloons and other businesses in the region all changed the day the lights came on.
In the exhibit, you can explore how electricity and its resulting inventions impacted people: Did these new forms give people more leisure time?
Today, numerous methods can generate electricity, including windmills, solar panels, hydroelectric plants, nuclear reactors, natural gas, and coal-burning stations. New energy-efficient and renewable-energy standards are being set throughout the nation.
EXPLORE THE EXHIBIT NOW (For optimized viewing, press the full-screen icon in the bottom navigation of your screen, upon opening the experience.)
The Day the Lights Came On remains on view until July, 2021.
Women Breaking Barriers in Northeastern North Carolina
The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America. As institutions across our country commemorate this event, the museum has embraced the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources' initiative “She Changed the World.” In our related exhibition, we focus on women of northeastern North Carolina and how their experiences, stories, and challenges have factored in history.
Women have played and always will play an integral part in every aspect of history. By advocating for what they believe and envisioning a different world, these women leave remarkable stories of adversity and hope, with grit, determination, perseverance, and talent that changed the world.
Come explore this exhibit, read the stories, and ponder on how the barriers that these women broke, or helped break, in areas such as women’s suffrage, public service, literature, journalism, activism, religion, entertainment, and more, affect your life today. Some women may not have been the first to break a barrier but played a role in a larger movement that affected the people of our nation. Sometimes a single person standing up for what they believe is right can influence others to make an even bigger difference.
A special component to this exhibition includes artwork by regional high school students. Students in grades 9 through 12 participating in the contest were provided a list of women who made a difference in their county. The students studied the women and produced artwork showing how they were inspired to recognize women who made a difference in their county. An overall winner from each county was selected. Out of the overall county winners an overall winner was selected. This special component was supported by a grant through The Elizabeth City Foundation.
Women Breaking Barriers remains on view until December 2022.
Wheelwrights, Wagon Wranglers, and Welders: Blacksmithing in the Albemarle
This exhibit looks at the enduring yet versatile trade of blacksmithing in the Albemarle region of North Carolina. Visitors can view a wide assortment of both tools and hand-forged implements and hardware. The collection of artifacts found on display exemplifies the industrious skill that made blacksmiths some of the most revered and highly sought-after artisans of their day. Learn how blacksmithing evolved to encompass the work of other industrial trades and adapted to the challenges of our modern society in the twenty-first century.
Wheelwrights, Wagon Wranglers, and Welders: Blacksmithing in the Albemarle remains on view until September 2021.
Joshua, Judges, & Jesus: An Archaeological Journey Through the Bible
Our newest exhibit, Joshua, Judges, & Jesus: An Archaeological Journey Through the Bible, will officially be open to the general public beginning Friday, March 19, 2021. You may visit Museum of the Albemarle to see the exhibit Monday - Friday, as well as every third Saturday of the month beginning March 20, 2021 until the exhibit closes on November 13, 2021.
Museum of the Albemarle & Mid-Atlantic Christian University partners to bring artifacts found during archaeological work at the site of Khirbet el-Maqatir, the Bibilical city of Ai of Joshua 7-8.
Due to State of North Carolina Executive Orders, the exhibit is offering timed entries for 30 minute intervals beginning at 10 a.m. and the last entry at 3:30 p.m.
*STARTING MARCH 19, 2021: EventBrite links will be available for visitors to sign-up for a time to view the exhibit.*
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Please call 252-331-4021 for more information.
All exhibits are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated.