Past exhibitions

A listing of some of the exhibitions that have appeared in the North Carolina Collection Gallery from the late 1990s to the present, including links to digital versions where they exist. Additional online exhibitions presented by the North Carolina Collection can be seen on the NCC’s online exhibits and digital collections page.


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Set in the Southern Part of Heaven: Chapel Hill through Authors’ Eyes

Exhibition dates: June 20 – October 2, 2016

Featuring well-known writers from the 1800s to today, this exhibition highlights stories and other writings set in Chapel Hill. While many of the authors focused on memories of their college days, others recorded the beauty of local landscapes, seasonal changes, or the spirit of a moment in time. In this exhibition, images from the Photographic Archives accompanied the written word to provide glimpses of familiar places and days gone by.

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From Frock Coats to Flip-flops: 100 Years of Fashion at Carolina

Exhibition dates: February 25 – June 5, 2016

In 1900 the properly dressed Carolina student ordered his clothes from a tailor and wore shirts with stiff collars. During the ensuing hundred years campus dress became increasingly less formal, and by the year 2000 classrooms were filled with students in T-shirts and flip-flops. This exhibition explored the stylistic shifts that took us from collared to casual, and what these changes — big and small, gradual and sudden — reveal about twentieth-century student life at Carolina.


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Wootten and Johnston: Pioneer Female Photographers and North Carolina’s Preservation Movement

Exhibition dates: October 16, 2015 – January 31, 2016

During the 1930s photographers Bayard Wootten and Frances Benjamin Johnston each embarked on endeavors to document early Southern architecture. Their separate pathways led to The University of North Carolina Press, which published two very different books of their results. This exhibition featured modern prints made from Wootten and Johnston’s photographic negatives, and examined the stories behind their 1939 and 1941 publications.

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From Brunswick Stew to Barbecue: The Cookbook As Cultural History

Exhibition dates: June 18 – October 4, 2015

A cookbook is more than just a collection of recipes. A cookbook is a record of foodways: the eating habits and culinary practices of a community. This exhibition looked at a wide range of cookbooks to show what they reveal about life in the South and, more specifically, North Carolina.

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The Hidden Campus: Archaeological Glimpses of UNC in the Nineteenth Century

Exhibition dates: March 19 – June 11, 2015

From the 1990s through the 2010s, staff and students from UNC’s Research Laboratories of Archaeology have revealed evidence of the 19th-century UNC campus through surveys and site excavations. The buried foundations of now-gone buildings and collections of artifacts found at these sites recall a quaint era of college and town life.



Where is Tobe? Unfolding Stories of Childhood, Race, and Rural Life in North Carolina

Exhibition dates: October 21, 2014 – March 1, 2015

In 1939, UNC Press published Tobe, illustrated with scores of black-and-white photographs of children from an African American community outside Greensboro. Marking Tobe‘s 75th anniversary, this exhibition explored how this one book opens up to reveal stories within stories — of rural African American life, of the history of children’s literature, of the 1930s documentary impulse, and, significantly, of real individual families. The search for Tobe opens windows onto the past and raises questions about the power — and limits — of telling stories.


The Art of North Carolina Money: The Stories Behind the Symbols

Exhibition dates: June 19 – September 30, 2014

Until around the time of the Civil War, American money was produced by private institutions in addition to central and local governments. Issuers embellished their money with artwork in the form of vignettes, or pictorial elements. Some of the artwork was just for eye appeal; some had symbolic or local meaning. This exhibition, drawn from the North Carolina Collection, looked at the art of North Carolina’s money, tokens, and medals.

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Making a People’s Theatre: Proff Koch and the Carolina Playmakers

Exhibition dates: February 21 – May 31, 2014

In March 1919, the Carolina Playmakers produced its first bill of original plays, folk dramas based on the “simple lives and homely ways” of ordinary people in North Carolina. Under the direction of Frederick H. “Proff” Koch and successive leaders, a new type of people’s theatre emerged — one that would influence American drama for decades. For more than five decades the Playmakers performed student-written and professional plays for audiences on campus and beyond. This exhibition used original documents, artifacts, and recordings to examine the group’s fifty-six year history and its legacy at UNC and on the national stage.


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Southern Scenery in 3D: 19th-Century Stereographic Photography

Exhibition dates: October 17, 2013 – February 2, 2014 Viewing stereographic photographs was a popular pastime in the 19th and early 20th centuries, offering people a way to see the world in three dimensions without leaving the parlors of their homes. This exhibition featured a selection of stereographic views from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives — including scenes made by Rufus Morgan (1846 – 1880), father of noted North Carolina photographer Bayard Wootten.

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A Right to Speak and to Hear: Academic Freedom and Free Expression at UNC

Exhibition dates: February 21 – June 2, 2013

On June 26, 1963, North Carolina’s lawmakers approved a bill that came to be known as the Speaker Ban. The law forbade Communists and others critical of the United States government from speaking on the campuses of North Carolina’s publicly-funded universities and colleges. The resulting controversy led to the law being overturned in 1968. It was not the first nor the last test of academic freedom on the UNC campus. This exhibition, which marks the 50th anniversary of passage of the Speaker Ban, examined events that tested the University’s commitment to academic freedom and free expression from the nineteenth century to the present day.

View the digital version of this exhibition.


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Photographic Angles: News Photography in the North Carolina Collection

Exhibition dates: October 6, 2012 – February 3, 2013

Photographers use angles — low camera angles, wide-angle lenses, and personal perspectives — to create compelling news photographs. This exhibition presented a selection of images made by Paul Cuadros, Jerome Friar, Roland Giduz, Charles Killebrew, Ben Dixon MacNeill, William and Benjamin Stimson, Don Sturkey, Jock Lauterer, Edward J. McCauley, and Hugh Morton.

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The Carolina Parakeet in Art: Images from the Powell Collection

Exhibition dates: June 21 – September 30, 2012

The Carolina Parakeet was the only parrot species native to the eastern and mid-western United States. Its dramatic decline began in the late 1800s as a result of deforestation, intentional eradication by farmers, and a booming trade in elaborate women’s hats. The Parakeet disappeared from the wild soon after 1900. Over the centuries, explorers, naturalists, ornithologists, and artists have recorded their fascination with the Parakeet through word and art. This exhibition presented a selection of works drawn from the collection of Virginia and William S. Powell and the North Carolina Collection.

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A Dialogue between Old and New: Notable Buildings on the UNC Campus

Exhibition dates: February 23 – May 31, 2012 Did you know that Old East was originally intended as one wing of a three-part building? Or that South Building housed Federal cavalry (and possibly horses) at the end of the Civil War? Or that the U.S. Navy built Kessing Pool? This exhibition looked beyond architectural styles to reveal the stories behind notable structures on the UNC campus.


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Curriculum and Controversy: Two Centuries of Textbooks in North Carolina

Exhibition dates: October 21, 2011 – January 31, 2012

Textbooks have served as the foundation for educating generations of North Carolinians, but selecting the topics they cover has proved the source of many debates. Nationwide, the debates that ensued over the text in schoolbooks have at times led to court cases or even violence. This exhibition looked at schoolbooks used by North Carolina children over the past two centuries and recalled some of the controversies surrounding their use.

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The North Carolina Etchings of Louis Orr

Exhibition dates: June 17 – October 11, 2011

In 1939, world-renowned etcher Louis Orr embarked on what came to be a twelve-year undertaking to produce a set of fifty-one etchings of important North Carolina buildings and sites. Robert Lee Humber, Jr. of Greenville, North Carolina conceived and financed the documentary project. The resulting body of work, completed in 1951, was like no other of its kind at the time. This exhibition, which featured thirty of the etchings, as well as original drawings, etching plates, letters, and photographs, marked the sixtieth anniversary of the set’s completion.

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From Di-Phis to Loreleis: A History of Student Organizations at UNC

Exhibition dates: February 17 – May 31, 2011

Students have organized as long as the University has existed. The earliest student organizations — the debating and literary societies — date to the University’s opening in 1795. Today there are more than 600 officially recognized student organizations at UNC. This exhibition explored the rich history of student organizations at the university and provided a window on student life through the years.


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Unearthing Native History: The UNC Catawba Archaeological Project

Exhibition dates: October 15, 2010- January 31, 2011

Since 1937, UNC’s archaeology program has sought to discover and present the native history of North Carolina’s Piedmont region. In 2001, this focus shifted to the old Catawba Nation in South Carolina, where many of the Indian communities of the North Carolina Piedmont took refuge after 1710. This exhibition, presented by the North Carolina Collection and the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, featured pottery, beads, ornaments, stone and metal tools, historical maps, travelers’ accounts, and archaeological evidence from six village sites excavated in North Carolina and South Carolina.

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The Poor Among Us: Photography of Poverty in North Carolina

Exhibition dates: June 10 – September 30, 2010

This exhibition coincided with the publication of the book To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America. It featured images created by photographer Billy E. Barnes to advocate for poverty eradication via the North Carolina Fund, as well as photographs by photojournalists Don Sturkey of the Charlotte Observer and Jerome Friar, who photographed events in two North Carolina towns — Hamlet and Woodland — where Barnes had photographed nearly three decades earlier.

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Noble Trees, Traveled Paths: The Carolina Landscape Since 1793

Exhibition dates: February 15 – May 31, 2010

For over two centuries, the “noble trees” of our campus have played a significant role in the life of the University. This exhibition presented photographs, drawings, manuscripts, and publications that document campus trees and landscapes from the University’s earliest days through the present.


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Consecrated to the Common Good: 100 Years of Journalism Education at UNC-Chapel Hill

Exhibition dates: September 10, 2009 – January 31, 2010

Journalism at Carolina has grown from a humble beginning in 1909 to become one of the largest units on campus and a world leader in journalism-mass communication education. This exhibition chronicled that story, beginning with student work on the Tar Heel in 1893 through courses in the English Department, the Department of Journalism (1924), the School of Journalism (1950), and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (1990).

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We’re All Family Here: Preserving Community Heritage in the Rogers Road Neighborhood of Chapel Hill

Exhibition dates: June 12 – August 31, 2009

For the past four decades, the Rogers Road neighborhood in Chapel Hill has often been at the center of a public debate about the impact of the landfill located in their community. The neighborhood has largely been defined in the public eye by this controversy; however, the story of this community began several generations before the placement of the landfill in 1972. Inspired by the book Rogers Road, this exhibition provided an introduction to some of the families who have lived in and shaped this historically significant area from the 1700s to the present.

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Cultivating the “Great Winter Garden”: Immigrant Colonies in Eastern North Carolina, 1866-1940

Exhibition dates: March 5 – June 5, 2009

Through approximately 85 books, pamphlets, maps and photographs, this exhibition documented various attempts by North Carolina state government and businesses to restore agriculture as part of the state’s economy after the Civil War. The exhibition focused primarily on efforts made in the early twentieth century to draw European workers to farming communities in the eastern counties of the state.


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Soapboxes and Tree Stumps: Political Campaigning in North Carolina

Exhibition dates: September 15, 2008 – February 15, 2009

The exhibition examined one hundred years of political campaigning in North Carolina, focusing on significant elections from 1890 to 1990 and what they reveal about the state’s political history. It used broadsides, posters, photographs, pinback buttons, and ribbons to explore the changing nature of campaigning from the nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries.

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Satan in a Bottle: A History of the Production and Control of Alcoholic Beverages in North Carolina

Exhibition dates: June 16 – August 31, 2008

Despite its long-standing “wet” reputation, in 1908 North Carolina became the first southern state to approve by referendum a comprehensive ban on alcohol. That statewide ban was in force a full decade before prohibition was imposed at a national level. The fight for prohibition was one of several topics examined in this exhibition about the history of alcohol in North Carolina. Other topics included its use as an ingredient in home remedies and its impact on popular culture.

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Lines of Humor, Shades of Controversy: A Century of Student Cartooning at UNC

Exhibition dates: February 14 – May 31, 2008

Student cartoons in UNC publications have entertained and informed this campus community for over a hundred years. This exhibition featured a fraction of the cartoons produced by UNC students from 1907 to 2006. The works selected provided a glimpse into campus life in past generations and imparted some insight into matters that students over the years have found amusing and worthy of complaint and ridicule.


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A Knight to Remember: The Life and Legacy of Sir Walter Raleigh

Exhibition dates: October 18, 2007 – January 31, 2008

This exhibition featured books, maps, and manuscripts relating to Raleigh’s life and times. Highlights included sixteenth-century travel accounts and maps; a 1570 letter signed by Queen Elizabeth I; and a first edition of Raleigh’s History of the World, published in 1614 while Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower of London. The exhibition also debunked popular myths about the Elizabethan knight and traced Raleigh’s legacy to the present day.

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Greetings from North Carolina: A Century of Postcards from the Durwood Barbour Collection

Exhibition dates: June 14 – September 30, 2007

The picture postcard held an important place in early twentieth-century consumer culture. First introduced in the late nineteenth century as a quick and inexpensive way to send greetings, the postcard soon started a collecting craze that lasted through World War I. While the postcards in this exhibition depict the landscape and people of North Carolina’s past, their selective focus also reveals much about the prevailing attitudes and tastes of the society in which they were produced.

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Carolina Faces: The Photography of Don Sturkey

Exhibition dates: February 15 – May 31, 2007

A young, unrecognized Elvis Presley being turned away from the Charlotte Coliseum. The ladies’ auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in hoods and robes. Children living in poverty, the public moments of government officials, the grief of ordinary citizens who have lost their jobs, their homes, their loved ones. In nearly forty years as a photojournalist (1952-1989), Don Sturkey captured thousands of Carolina faces. While most of the photos in this exhibition documented the societal changes that took place over his career, many recalled everyday life in the Carolinas during that time. Regardless of subject, all of Sturkey’s photographs demonstrated his philosophy of “capturing emotion first” and making “composition and technique secondary.”


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Defining a State: A Selection of Maps of North Carolina, 1776-1860

Exhibition dates: October 19, 2006 through January 31, 2007

This exhibition presented North Carolina-related maps produced between the American Revolution and the Civil War. Highlights included the original plat that depicts the University of North Carolina’s initial campus and the formation of the town of Chapel Hill. Dramatic technological advancements in mapmaking between 1776 and 1860 can be traced through the maps included in this exhibition.

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Tar Heel Tracks: Early Railroad Development in North Carolina, 1830s-1890s

Exhibition dates: July 19 through October 8, 2006

The year 2006 marked the 150th anniversary of the completion of the North Carolina Railroad, one of this state’s very important early railways. This exhibition offered an overview of rail development in this state in the 1800s and introduced visitors to related books, documents, and images in Wilson Library that are available to the general public.

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William Richardson Davie: Soldier, Statesman, and Founder of The University of North Carolina

Exhibition dates: February 16 through June 30, 2006

June 22, 2006, marked the semiquincentennial (250th anniversary) of William R. Davie’s birth. A man of diverse talents, Davie served as a lawyer, cavalry officer in the Revolution, legislator, constitutional delegate, governor, and United States minister to France. He also introduced the bill in the state legislature in 1789 to establish the University of North Carolina and, as one of the school’s founding trustees, helped to guide much of the University’s early development. As part of the University’s celebration of Davie’s birth, the North Carolina Collection Gallery presented this exhibition, which traced Davie’s life from his birth in England in 1756 to his death in South Carolina in 1820.


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Keeping the Devil at Bay: The Pastimes of North Carolina Women in the Victorian Age, 1837-1901

Exhibition dates: October 20, 2005 through January 31, 2006

The “cult of domesticity” that formed in the Victorian Age preached that women should spend the majority of their time maintaining piety, purity, and efficiency in the household. What little time they had for leisure was usually spent in self-improvement activities. This exhibition examined some of those activities, as well as some of the era’s social attitudes that eventually presented new opportunities for women.

Anastatia Sims, Professor of History at Georgia Southern University, delivered a related lecture entitled “Mother Cotten and Crazy Daisy: North Carolina Women at the turn of the 20th Century,” which is available in PDF format.

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Sour Stomachs and Galloping Headaches: Treating the Sick in North Carolina, 1500s-1900s

Exhibition dates: June 22 through September 30, 2005

This exhibition explored the treatment of common and not-so-common illnesses over the course of North Carolina history, with a focus on home remedies, faith-based healing, urban and rural sanitation, patent medicines, and the mass marketing of modern over-the-counter remedies.

View the digital version of this exhibition.

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Tar Heel Ink: Student Publications at UNC, 1844-2005

Exhibition dates: February 24 through June 3, 2005

On February 23, 2005, the University’s newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, celebrated its 112th year, and the status of being the longest continuously running of the University’s many student-run publications. While not so prominent, many other student publications have come and gone during the University’s long history. These publications, ranging from humor to religion, also provide a glimpse into life on the UNC campus over generations and reveal the issues that students deemed important. This exhibition examined some of these publications, including The Daily Tar Heel and its rival newspaper The White and Blue, yearbooks, literary magazines, and political newsletters.

View the digital version of this exhibition.


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The Wilson Library: Celebrating 75 Years of Public Service

Exhibition dates: October 20, 2004, through February 13, 2005

On October 21, 2004, as part of Wilson Library’s diamond-anniversary celebration, an exhibition devoted to the history of the building opened in the North Carolina Collection Gallery. This exhibition examined Wilson Library’s development, highlighting the wide array of public services housed in the facility over more than seven decades.

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North Carolina: Where The Buffalo Once Roamed

Exhibition dates: July 8 through October 8, 2004

Only a few centuries ago, buffalo, elk, otters, and colorful parrots were among the regions abundant wildlife. Unfortunately, the first European explorers and settlers generally regarded the area’s plants and animals as inexhaustible assets. This exhibition examined the effects of human intervention on several species that have disappeared from North Carolina. Through illustrations by John White, Mark Catesby, William Bartram, John James Audubon, and other naturalists, the exhibition highlighted some of the state’s extinct, endangered, and threatened species, including the eastern woodland buffalo, Carolina parrot, passenger pigeon, American alligator, and Venus’s flytrap.

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North Carolina Writers: A Photographer’s Odyssey

Exhibition dates: April 7 through June 24, 2004

Photographer and book collector Jan Hensley photographed his first writer when he met Eudora Welty in 1988. Shortly thereafter he began a journey across North Carolina to get his personal collection of books signed. When he had room for his camera, Hensley took pictures of North Carolina writers at various author readings and events. Eventually, the camera became an integral part of his “odyssey.” This exhibit portrayed a cross section of North Carolina writers. These photographs are not portraits but candid shots focusing on the character in these writers’ faces. In many cases the writers were not even aware they were being photographed, however, in Hensley’s words, the goal has not been “to steal an image but to freeze and share a moment in time.”

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The Students’ Plate: Food and Dining at UNC Since 1795

Exhibition dates: January 29 through March 31, 2004

Through the use of documents, books, lithographs, and photographs, “The Student’s Plate” reviewed the history of food and dining at UNC since 1795, from the Spartan fare of the school’s first students to late nineteenth-century eating clubs and today’s assortment of cafeterias, cafes, and snack bars. The exhibition also addressed how complaints about food appear to be a tradition common to many colleges and universities.


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With Camera in Hand: An Exhibition of Photographs by Hugh Morton

Exhibition dates: October 2 through December 31, 2003

Capturing on film the diversity of North Carolina’s landscape and people has been a lifelong passion for Hugh Morton. This exhibition of his photography provided a small sampling from a body of work that spans more than six decades.

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A Cabinet of Curios: Museum Objects in the North Carolina Collection

Exhibition dates: June 10 through August 31, 2003

This exhibition featured a selection of historical objects held by the North Carolina Collection. The tradition of preserving and exhibiting museum objects at UNC was begun in 1795 by Charles Wilson Harris, one of two teachers who formed the university’s faculty upon its opening. Between 1795 and 1798, when he left UNC, Harris worked on building a museum, a collection he called “a cabinet of curios.” The first item he acquired for the collection was an ostrich egg, which he obtained from a donor in Pitt County, N.C.

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All the Charms of Nature: A History of Landscaping at UNC-Chapel Hill

Exhibition dates: February 3 through May 31, 2003

As part of the centennial celebration of the William C. Coker Arboretum, the North Carolina Collection Gallery presented this exhibition, which placed the arboretum in a historical context by providing an overview of this campus’ development from 1795 to the present. The exhibition in the Gallery featured selections of books, pamphlets, lithographs, maps, and photographs depicting the university’s landscape in various eras. In addition to recognizing some of the architects and other faculty members who have planned the beautification of campus, credit was given to the nameless and faceless laborers — both black and white, enslaved and free — who over the past two centuries have actually laid the stones and brick, moved tons of earth, and planted the trees and flowers that have decorated these grounds.


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North Carolina Mysteries, Myths, & Legends

Exhibition dates: September 5, 2002, through January 19, 2003

This exhibition highlighted some of the hundreds of mysteries, myths, and legends that comprise a colorful part of North Carolina’s history. In addition to re-examining such popular topics as the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Blackbeard the pirate, and the Devil’s Tramping Ground, an array of lesser-known stories from North Carolina’s coastal, piedmont, and mountain regions were presented. Native American mythology, especially that pertaining to the Cherokee, formed another significant part of this exhibition.

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The Sport of Kings (and Peasants): Horse Racing in North Carolina Before the Civil War of the 19th Century

Exhibition dates: January 17 through March 20, 2002

Long before the state of Kentucky gained its prominence in breeding and racing horses, even decades before Kentucky existed as a state (1792), North Carolina was home to some of America’s finest stables and thoroughbreds. This exhibition traced North Carolina’s equine past through related books, pamphlets, newspapers, and lithographs of great racers such as “Sir Archie,” a champion quarter horse who spent most of his long life in North Carolina and whose descendants include “Man O’ War,” “Native Dancer,” and “Secretariat.” While the focus of the exhibition was on racing before the Civil War, aspects of the sport and the status of North Carolina’s “horse industry” in the late 1800s and 1900s were examined as well.


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Lawson’s Legacy: Nature Writing in North Carolina, 1701-2001

Exhibition dates: September 7 through December 31, 2001

In the fall of 2001, the North Carolina Collection sponsored a conference and exhibition that celebrated the 300th anniversary of Englishman John Lawson’s remarkable 550-mile exploratory journey through the Carolina backcountry in 1700-1701. Over the course of his journey, Lawson kept a detailed journal of his observations, which he combined with a separately written natural history of Carolina and published as A New Voyage to Carolina (1709). This was the first major attempt to describe the “New World’s” natural history. In addition to commemorating Lawson’s journey, the conference and exhibition reviewed North Carolina’s long tradition of nature writing. Items on display also included illustrations by Mark Catesby, John and William Bartram, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon.

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Andy Griffith: Chapel Hill to Mayberry and Beyond

Exihibtion dates: June 14 through August 22, 2001

In the summer of 2001, the North Carolina Collection Gallery presented a biographical exhibition that reviewed the life and career of entertainer Andy Griffith. This project featured many artifacts, publications, audio recordings and photographic images relating to Griffith’s childhood, to his years as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and his stint as an actor in the outdoor drama The Lost Colony and during his early years on Broadway and in Hollywood.

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“Over There” in the Great War: William B. Umstead & World War I

Exhibition dates: March 1 through May 31, 2001

Although the United States’ direct military involvement in World War I was relatively brief, that involvement resulted in the deaths of over 116,000 Americans, including more than 2,300 North Carolinians. The experiences of one North Carolina soldier were recounted in this exhibition in order to provide a personal perspective on the “Great War.” That North Carolinian was William B. Umstead, a native of Durham County, who decades after his military service would be elected governor of the state.


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A Kind of Magic Door: Thomas Wolfe at the University of North Carolina, 1916-1920

Exhibition dates: October 2 through December 31, 2000

The year 2000 marked the centennial of Thomas Wolfe’s birth. This exhibition was one of many statewide celebrations that recognized the literary accomplishments of the Asheville native. Wolfe’s experiences in Chapel Hill and his education at the University of North Carolina had profound effects on him personally and on the course of his writing. The exhibition presented original letters and other items that traced Wolfe’s boyhood and his student life at UNC, concentrating on some of the experiences in Chapel Hill and on people at the university who influenced his writing and shaped his literary career.


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Hard Cash & Hard Times: A History of North Carolina Currency

Exhibition dates: November 4, 1998, through May 31, 1999

This exhibition reviewed the impact of money on this state’s history and featured coins and paper currencies produced by or for North Carolina from the early 1700s until the beginning of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Over 150 pieces of historic currency and trade items were displayed, including examples of Native American wampum (roanoke and peak), colonial bills, “broken bank” notes, Bechtler gold coins, Civil War issues, and national bank notes.


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This Lande… Stretching it Selfe to the West: Early Maps of North Carolina and the Southeast, 1529-1775

Exhibition dates: October 5, 1997, through February 2, 1998

This exhibition featured a selection of more than thirty maps that depict the region in and around North Carolina from the time of these lands’ exploration by Europeans to the beginning of the American Revolution. In concert, the exhibited maps underscored the skills and genius of early cartographers, especially those of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who with only scraps of geographical information and relying on rudimentary measuring devices produce maps of extraordinary beauty and often with remarkable precision. This exhibition also demonstrated that mistakes and misconceptions about North America’s true form and size were common on the first depictions of the continent.