RALEIGH -- Supplemental educational programming for children is just a mouse click away through webcasts created by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. Originally broadcast live online, the programs are now available whenever a class or family is ready to tune in. Three of the videos are appropriate for fourth and eighth grade students, while two others are for older students studying textiles.
A Colonial Christmas is set at Tryon Palace and explores the history of the holidays with an 18th-century cooking demonstration, a hands-on historic craft to make at you location and interactive discussion exploring colonial holiday traditions. View the Colonial Christmas webcast and teacher guide.
Behind the Scene Workings of Civil War Cannons, set at Bentonville Battlefield, will demonstrate and explain the workings of Civil War cannons with firings. Visit the Civil War Cannons webcast.
WINNABOW -- Winter of 1865. The Gibraltar of the South, Fort Fisher, had just fallen to Union forces. The end of the Civil War was in sight. Before the break of dawn on Feb. 19, 1865, Confederate troops were forced to evacuate the last major defensive fortification on the lower Cape Fear, Fort Anderson. Over the course of the next 72 hours, the port of Wilmington would fall into Union hands.
But what if Fort Anderson had not been evacuated in the night and Union Infantry had been forced to make a frontal assault on the massive feat of engineering? This free program will present what the outcome could have been during Last Stand on the West Bank: The 150th Anniversary of the Fall of Ft. Anderson Feb. 14 and 15, 2015. Come experience two days of battle reenactments, lectures by noted Civil War historians, living history and tours of the pristine and normally inaccessible Northern Battery.
A dramatic interpretation of the fall of the fort, including night time artillery fire, is planned for Feb. 14, 6-8 p.m. Visitors will be guided on lantern tours departing every 20 minutes that feature interactive vignettes sharing the true and harrowing tales of the fall of Fort Anderson.
WINSTON-SALEM -- Mark Leach, executive director of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) since 2008, will be stepping down from his position at the end of the year. Over his 7-year tenure, Leach led SECCA through an important transitional period that secured its spot as an international contributor in the contemporary art world, and has become an important strategic partner to the Winston-Salem community and North Carolina's colleges and universities.
"Mark has been a valued colleague in shepherding SECCA through a multifaceted transition to a sustainable future," says Lawrence J. Wheeler, director of the North Carolina Museum of Art. "Improvements in the physical campus and innovations in exhibitions, programs, and education are admired throughout the community and across North Carolina."
As executive director, Leach provided creative leadership and artistic vision, insuring that the museum's exhibits and programs advance SECCA's mission to bridge art, technology and engagement to enhance perspectives, inspire community and ignite new ideas. In order to replenish the art center's ailing infrastructure, Leach led a $1.8m State appropriated renovation of the art center, including critical systems, interior exhibit spaces and exterior campus, secured the funding for and led the art center's highly successful Pentagram-designed identity transformation and led a campaign to raise $250,000 to transform the McChesney Scott Dunn Auditorium into a state-of-the-art interactive environment. Because public engagement is a strategic cornerstone, he oversaw a $100,000 effort to develop SECCA's new high-tech Education and Exploration Overlook Gallery.
KINSTON -- A Civil War era sword and rifle are now displayed at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center as part of the "Freedom Coming, Freedom for All" exhibit that examines the road to freedom for enslaved African Americans in North Carolina and the nation. The sword and rifle belonged to Pvt. Luke Martin in the U.S. Colored Troops, and the free Dec. 18 program at 2 p.m. will recognize his service in the Union Army and service of other U.S. Colored Troops (USCT).
The exhibit of informational panels celebrates the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 passage of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery and, along with the artifacts, will remain at the CSS Neuse through Jan. 3. The artifacts are on loan to the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources from 97-year-old Luke Martin Jr., son of the Civil War veteran. The program and exhibit are part of the observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Visit www.NCCulture.com/CivilWar for information.
Martin enlisted in the 1st N.C. Colored Infantry in May 1863 in New Bern as soon as enslaved and free persons of color could legally enlist in the Union Army. An 1861 Springfield rifle and Confederate Cavalry officer's sword, likely captured at the Battle of Olustee, Fla., were left to Martin by his father.
Pvt. Martin was one of more than 5,000 African-Americans to enlist in Union occupied eastern North Carolina between 1863 and 1865. Lenoir County contributed 54 troops to the Union Army's black units. There were 10 casualties of that number. Pvt. Martin was wounded in the Battle of Olustee, Fla.
KURE BEACH -- On January 17-18, 2015, Fort Fisher State Historic Site will open North Carolina’s official 2015 commemoration of the events that led to the end of the Civil War 150 years ago by hosting “Nor Shall Your Glory Be Forgot: the 150th Anniversary of the 2nd Battle of Fort Fisher.” Organizers say no other Fort Fisher program to date rivals the scope of what awaits visitors that weekend. Due to anticipated high attendance, visitors are encouraged to arrive early both days. Free public parking will be provided at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Base, just north of the historic site. From there, visitors can take a short stroll to the site or board one of several free shuttles. The site will open at 9 am each day, with activities throughout the day.
At the core of the observance weekend are Saturday and Sunday recreations of the January 1865 Union attacks on Fort Fisher. The battle reenactments will feature hundreds of reenactors representing Union and Confederate soldiers, sailors, and Marines realistically depicting everything from camp life to battle strategies. Saturday’s battle reenactment begins at 1:30 pm, while Sunday’s reenactment will begin at 10:30 am. The program will also feature historians, authors, speakers, cannon firings, artillery demonstrations, new exhibits, new interpretive wayside trail markers, and a long list of VIPs and special guests, including renowned historian and battlefield guide Ed Bearss, who will serve as keynote speaker at the opening ceremony planned for 11 am Saturday.
“We’re very excited about hosting this program and commemorating the battle that so influenced the end of the Civil War,” said Program Coordinator John Moseley. The two-day observance program is free, except for small fees associated with unique tours offered on both days. A limited number of tickets for these tours will be sold. Due to factors beyond the staff’s control, some program components are subject to change. Organizers say more details about tours and speakers will be released prior to the event.
RALEIGH -- One of the most popular movies ever, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” was written by legendary director Frank Capra Sr. This holiday favorite for six decades stars James Stewart and Donna Reed. Frank Capra Sr.’s desk is featured in Starring North Carolina!, the first major exhibit about the state’s role in the film industry, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.
What is the desk’s connection to North Carolina? Capra’s son, Frank Capra Jr., proved instrumental in creating the state’s film industry. Frank Capra Jr. became president of EUE/Screen Gems Studios in 1997, and both he and Dino De Laurentiis used the desk while it sat at the Wilmington studios. The desk is on loan to the Museum of History from Jonathon Capra, Frank Capra Jr.’s son.
Frank Capra Jr. worked in the film industry from the 1960s until his death in 2007. His career in Hollywood began on such television series as “Dennis the Menace” and “Gunsmoke,” then branched into films with projects that included three “Planet of the Apes” sequels and “Billy Jack Goes to Washington.” In 1983 Dino De Laurentiis sent Capra Jr. to the Wilmington area to find locations for filming “Firestarter.” During that search, and subsequent filming, Capra Jr. persuaded De Laurentiis to finance a studio there.
Kevin Cherry: A fast-track year for Transportation Museum
It has been an extraordinary year for the North Carolina Transportation Museum.
Our visitation is up. How could it not be given our spectacular four-day, international Streamliner event? The Rowan County Convention and Visitor's Bureau calculated that this one event sold out every hotel room in the county and added more than $1.8 million to the local economy over its run. Add to that the museum's most successful "Day Out With Thomas" in years (with ticket sales up 24 percent over the previous year). The renewed interest in the little steam engine's visit was due in large part to the participation of Thomas' buddy, green-painted Percy, a "cheeky saddletank engine," and always a kid favorite.
We are still on track to have the first phase of the Powerhouse restoration completed by the end of summer 2015. We hope to soon give it back its roof, windows, doors and floors while stabilizing the walls. While it's not as dramatic, we've also cleaned up and organized our behind-the-scenes spaces and set up more areas that can be rented to help supplement our budget. Speaking of budget, the total annual budget for the museum (including all onsite private, non-profit and state activities) is now approximately $2.5 million, of which $300,000 comes from appropriation. (This does not include funds for major repair and renovations.) These figures show that we are not only good stewards of the state's history, we are also pretty good stewards of the state's funds.
RALEIGH -- The North Carolina Symphony continues an annual tradition this Dec. 31 with a year-end concert that will usher in the New Year with style. In addition to timeless melodies from Vienna that are so identified with New Year’s Eve, the concert will feature an unforgettable evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, and more with Associate Conductor David Glover, the North Carolina Symphony, and pianist and vocalist Tony DeSare and his trio. The concert takes place at Meymandi Concert Hall, in downtown Raleigh’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, on Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 8:00 p.m.
For well over a century, the dance music of the Strauss family has serenaded classical music lovers into the New Year, and the North Carolina Symphony will begin its New Year’s Eve program with music from Johann Strauss Jr. and Johann Strauss, Sr. including the Overture to The Gypsy Baron, Thunder and Lightning Polka, and the Radetzky March.
Selections with Tony DeSare and the North Carolina Symphony include some of the greatest songs of the popular era and today, including Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano,” Johnny Mercer’s “Something’s Gotta Give,” Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Take Me to the Pilot,” and DeSare’s own “New Orleans Tango” and “How Will I Say I Love You.”
HIGH POINT -- Governor Pat McCrory was in High Point today for the grand opening of the North American Headquarters of BuzziSpace, a manufacturer of high-end office furniture. The move, and the 113 jobs and nearly $2 million investment, was announced just 10 months ago. The headquarters will be located and operate out of the old Pickett Cotton Mill in downtown High Point. Governor McCrory used the grand opening to highlight the importance of the Historic Tax Credit, which will sunset at the end of the month.
Since 1998, federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credit projects have brought nearly $1.5 billion of private investment into North Carolina through an impressive 2,483 projects. Historic rehabilitation projects have taken place in 90 of our 100 counties, from rural to suburban communities.
RALEIGH -- Calling creative teen-agers to showcase their video talent! The 2015 Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) announces the 2015 Teen Video Challenge, a national competition for teens to celebrate reading and their public library's summer reading program. Teens must create a 30 to 90 second video on the 2015 slogan Unmaskin combinations with reading and libraries.
The process will engage teens from across the country with the summer reading program before and during the summer months. Teens can demonstrate their creativity and have their ideas heard by a national audience. The winning video from each participating state will be named one of the CSLP Teen Videos to promote summer reading nationwide. Learn more on the State Libary's website.
Many North Carolina libraries have participated in Teen Video Challenge since its inception in 2012. Winners from 2014 included a team of students from the Fontana Regional Library System System-Macon County Public Library. The creators of the winning state video will receive prizes worth $150 and their associated library will receive prizes worth at least $50 from Demco/Upstart. Winners will be announced in April 2015.
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