See Our Exhibits

Current Exhibits

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 March 2021.

 

High on the Hog

The Museum of the Albemarle will open its newest exhibit on September 28th, 2019. High on the Hog, will look at how pigs have become a part of our family, home, and livelihood.

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, which opens September 28th, 2019 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.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

High on the Hog, remains on view until September, 2022.

 

A Thousand Words: Photographs by Vietnam Veterans

The Museum of the Albemarle will open its newest exhibit on Nov 8th, 2019. A Thousand Words: Photographs by Vietnam Veterans is a traveling exhibit featuring a collection of images, assembled by photographer Martin Tucker, taken by North Carolina soldiers in Vietnam.

The Vietnam War took place literally half a world away from the United States; life for the soldiers was an unknown to most Americans in the 1960s and 1970s. Many only knew the war from images on TV—some of which were quite graphic.

But what did the war look like to the troops on the ground? Some recorded the horrors of war; others focused less on the war and more on the experience—their friendships, the Vietnamese people, the countryside, the longing for home.

This collection of intriguing images explores the human elements and experiences of Vietnam, with commentary by the veterans on what each image means to them. This exhibit offers visitors the chance to see how the troops themselves chose to remember their time in Southeast Asia.

“Vietnam was a complex conflict, ushering in a new type of warfare: a war without borders,” said Charlie Knight, military curator at the North Carolina Museum of History. “When Martin Tucker originally collected these images and the stories that go with them, he provided a glimpse into a very turbulent time period in U.S. history. The images in 1000 Words convey what everyday life was like for those in uniform in Vietnam, and we hope that visitors will gain a greater understanding of this war 50 years ago.”

According to Tucker, “The photographs paint as broad a picture as possible . . . of what 18- to 20-year-old young men experienced in their year away from home (in addition to combat)—and how they chose to document it. They’re showing what they couldn’t say.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

A Thousand Words: Photographs by Vietnam Veterans, remains on view until April 30, 2020.

Temperance & Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition

The Museum of the Albemarle will open its newest exhibit on Jan 18, 2019. 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. A 1957 black 210 Series Chevrolet will be highlighted for a few short months during the exhibit’s run.

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.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Temperance & Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition, remains on view until Nov, 2020.

The Day The Lights Came On

The Museum of the Albemarle opens its newest interactive exhibit April 9, 2020The 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.

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