Current exhibition

man with fanBeating the Heat: Surviving North Carolina Summers before Air Conditioning

June 20 – September 29, 2019

Providing a respite from hot and humid summers, air conditioning proved a boon for the twentieth-century American South. Its ubiquity has made the region more attractive to newcomers and alleviated some of the health problems commonly associated with heat and humidity.

Air conditioning was initially introduced in factories to reduce moisture and dust. The invention soon spread to theaters and railway cars, where it created a more comfortable experience for theatergoers and travelers. The first window air conditioning units appeared in the early 1950s, offering homeowners a luxury that they soon considered a necessity.

This exhibition uses resources in Wilson Library to look back at some of the ways that North Carolinians “beat the heat” before the days of air conditioning.



For hours, directions, and parking, see Wilson Library’s visit us page.

For information on previous exhibitions, see our past exhibitions page.