Transitions: The 2013 Gubernatorial Inauguration Behind-the-Scenes

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources has been particularly busy these last few weeks helping with the transition from one gubernatorial administration to the next.

Staff at the State Capitol Historic Site are helping elected officials and advisors move out of their stately home and new leaders move in. They’re also helping plan the ceremonies surrounding the swearing in of the governor’s cabinet, the Council of State and the governor.

Tryon Palace staff will host Governor Pat McCrory’s eastern regional visit to take place January 8, and a number of historical interpreters associated with the Cultural Resources—from Tryon Palace’s Fife and Drum and Jonkonnu groups to Fort Dobbs’s militia to Roanoke Island Festival Park’s Silver Chalice Boat and crew and beyond—will also take part in the inaugural parade on January 12.

The State Archives are making sure that records of departing officials are being appropriately transferred and providing reference and research services to various planning committees—including coming in during the holidays to provide copies of films from previous inaugurations.

Archives staff have also helped select the historic Bibles that will be used in the oath taking, and, as caretaker of the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina, State Archivist Sarah Koonts will take part in the private, “Transfer of the Seal Ceremony,” which is held just before the governor takes the Oath of Office.  Archives photographers will also be on hand to document these and other transition activities.

Our Historical Resources Division is providing research reports on previous inaugurations and the state seal to the inaugural committee, while the N.C. Museum of History has mounted its always popular Governor’s Exhibit, which is updated and re-opened every four years to coincide with gubernatorial inaugurations. This year’s exhibit Leading the State: North Carolina’s Governors will run through April 28, 2013.

Filled with artifacts that include personal items, clothing and portraits, Leading the State highlights the changes in the office of governor and the role of first spouses. The exhibit also focuses on how governors have campaigned and been elected. In addition to this exhibit, the Museum of History also accessioned a number of gifts from Governor Beverly Perdue to help document her time in office and is currently working with Gov. McCrory’s staff to decorate and equip the Executive Mansion living quarters and office in the State Capitol.

These activities are just a few of the ways, we, as the state agency charged with preserving the state’s memory, are helping support that crucial mechanism of democracy and the all-too-rare occurrence in the history of humankind: the peaceful transfer of power.

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