The Holidays at Cultural Resources

The holidays are a wonderful time to experience the diverse of offerings of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. 

From Vance Birthplace in the west to the Maritime Museums in the east, the majority of our sites and museums put on special events to help you get in the spirit of the season. Here are few perennial favorites:

  • Candelight Christmas, Tryon Palance, New Bern, Dec. 13 & 20: costumed performers, magicians, daring feats of agility and dancing will all be set against the backdrop of the palace by candlelight and a fireworks finale.
  • 1830s Candelight Chistmas, Vance Birthplace, Weaverville, Dec. 6: Visitors to Vance Birthplace Dec. 7 can experience an 1830s era Christmas as a mountain family may have had. The site will offer a glimpse of the holiday customs and rituals of the Vance family through candlelight tours.
  • An 18th Century Christmas, Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson, Winnabow, Dec. 14: costumed interpreters will provide guided tours of the site, while visitors can learn to craft a Moravian star, create stenciled ornaments and enjoy colonial era refreshments.
  • State Tree Lighting, State Capitol, Raleigh, Dec. 11: Luminaries and musical performances will launch the holiday season as the governor and first lady light the state Christmas tree. Music and children's activities will be featured on Union Square.
  • A Civil War Christmas, Bentonville Battlefield, Four Oaks, Dec. 6.: Military interpreters discuss what the holidays were like for a common solider, while the Harper House will be a decorated in a festival style and filled with period music. 
  • Cocoa and Candlelight in Canary, Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, Sedalia, Dec. 6: Refreshments, carols and examinations of past Christmas traditions in Canary Cottage, Dr. Brown's on the former Palmer Memorial Institute campus.

These five programs are just a sampling of our more more than 40 offerings this holiday season. See our calendar for a full list of holiday events!

Holiday Itineraries

To help you get the most out of your holiday season this year, we've created a few guides to the best cultural experiences and gifts our there this season:

  • Not-to-Miss Art Shows: though developed earlier this fall, this great guide from the N.C. Arts Council includes a number of first-class art exhibitions open through the new year

Looking for more? Our partners and friends at Visit North Carolina can help you out.

Related Educational Resources

Just because school may be out of session, doesn't mean leaning has to stop. 

Here are a few ways to work out your brain while on break:

  • A Colonial Christmas at Tryon Palace: An overview of how the holidays were celebrated during the Colonial period, including a cooking demonstration and craft you can make at home
  • Carolina Christmas: an online repository of images, documents and other primary materials from the State Archives that makes the perfect addition to any lesson on the history of the holidays
  • Educational programming: offered across the state during late November and December helps kids explore historical holiday traditions at North Carolina's historic sites and museums

Be sure to visit the education section of our website for more great educational materials that can be used all year round.

A Sampling of What You'll See at Our Historic Sites and Museums This Season

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N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
109 East Jones Street MSC 4601 |  Raleigh, NC 27699-4601
Phone: (919) 807-7300  | Fax: (919) 733-1620

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