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May Programs at the N.C. Museum of History


Take advantage of May programs at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Don’t miss the second annual Longleaf Film Festival featuring film, food and fun. During the free event, watch winning narrative and documentary films from across the state and around the world. More than 30 films will be shown in this juried festival.

Sign up today to hear Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin bring history to life. She will present the talk Lessons on Leadership from the White House, a ticketed event held at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

 To complement the traveling exhibit First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, the Museum of History will feature many free programs for children and adults. This wide selection of programs will enrich your understanding of William Shakespeare and his work. 

Mark your calendar for these and other May programs at the N.C. Museum of History. Admission is free unless otherwise noted. Parking is free on weekends.  


Time for Tots: Batter Up!

Tuesday, May 3, 10-10:45 a.m.

Learn how baseball began, and hear about some of North Carolina’s legendary players. Then play a short game of rounders — a colonial version of baseball. Ages 3-5 (with adult). $3 plus tax per child; $1 plus tax for Associates/museum members. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7979. 

First Fridays at the Museum: Shakespeare and His First Folio! 

Friday, May 6, 5-9 p.m. 

Stop in for beer samples — while they last — from Haw River Farmhouse Ales. The Museum Shop will be open.

At 7 p.m., see the exhibit First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare. The exhibit features the 1623 First Folio of William Shakespeare, which is on a national tour for the first time from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The First Folio includes 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, 18 of which had never been printed before.  

The exhibit was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library and produced in association with the American Library Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center; the exhibit was funded, in part, by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the support of, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council, and other generous donors. 

Readings from Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Friday, May 6, 5-6 p.m. 

Drop by to hear Joseph Mills, a professor at the UNC School of the Arts, read from his recently published collection, Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Inspired by Shakespeare’s stage directions, the poems are witty, comical and thought-provoking. Mills will also share some backstory on the Bard’s most famous stage directions and sign books. 

Making the Cut: What the First Folio Leaves Out — and In 

Friday, May 6, 6:30 p.m.

Mary Floyd-Wilson, the Bowman and Gordon Gray Term Professor of Distinguished Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, a Shakespeare and English Renaissance literature expert, will talk about the contents of the first collection of the Bard’s works. Presented in conjunction with the Museum of History Associates and the Raleigh area chapter of the English-Speaking Union of the United States.

Shakespeare’s Garden

Saturday, May 7, 2-3 p.m.

Shakespeare mentioned plants and gardens in many of his plays and sonnets, often using them as metaphors for life. Join this special tour of our History of the Harvest exhibit and see which of its plants were referenced by the Bard! For more information, call 919-807-7979. 

Music of the Carolinas: The Zinc Kings

Sunday, May 8, 3 p.m. 

“Shakespeare and old-time [music] work shockingly well together,” says one member of this group. Celebrate Mother’s Day with Shakespeare-inspired tunes and the First Folio! exhibit. Presented with PineCone and support from the Museum of History Associates and Williams Mullen. Free tickets for this concert are distributed while they last beginning at 2 p.m.

History Corner: “Shake” It Up!

Wednesday, May 11, 10-11 a.m.

Quote a speech, fold a book, print some words! Learn about Shakespeare, and get a rare glimpse of the First Folio — the original printed collection of his plays. Ages 6-9 (with adult). $3 plus tax per child; $1 plus tax for Associates/museum members. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7999. 

History Hunters: First Folio — Put It Together

Wednesday, May 11, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 

“To be, or not to be . . . .” Are you wondering what the deal is with this Shakespeare guy? Discover his role in history, see how his plays got from quill to print, and speak a line or two for yourself. Ages 10-13. $3 plus tax per child; $1 plus tax for Associates/museum members. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7988. 

History à la Carte: Rescripting Shakespeare 

Wednesday, May 11, noon-1 p.m. 

How do you present Shakespeare’s works to a modern audience? You’d likely eliminate, change and streamline — rescript — the text; but doesn’t that alter what original playgoers saw in the first performances of “Macbeth,” “Twelfth Night,” “As You Like It,” and “The Tempest”? Alan C. Dessen, the Peter G. Phialas Distinguished Professor Emeritus, English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill, will talk about rescripting while weighing what may be lost in the process. Bring your lunch; beverages provided. 

Longleaf Film Festival 2016

Friday, May 13-Saturday, May 14

This year’s free festival will screen juried narrative and documentary film submissions from around the world — and our own backyard. Festival winners will be announced in a public ceremony Saturday evening. Sponsored, in part, by the TriFilm Society. For schedules and information, visit

N.C. Museum of History Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series, 2016: Lessons on Leadership from the White House

Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m. 

This is a ticketed event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. Search “Kearns Goodwin” at for prices and availability. Call 919-807-7873 for more information. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning Doris Kearns Goodwin, author and presidential historian, brings history to life with her uncanny sense of detail and master storyteller’s grasp of drama and depth. Join us as she uses her lifelong examination of the U.S. presidency to explore the leadership triumphs, trials and tribulations of the men and women who have shaped this nation. Presented by the Museum of History Foundation and the News & Observer with additional support from First Tennessee Bank; Goodnight Educational Foundation; the Sherrill Fund; the Sloan Family Foundation; the Smith Family Foundation; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth B. Howard; and Mr. and Mrs. Paul F. Hoch Jr.

Conservation Assistance Day 

Friday, May 20, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Have you always wanted advice on caring for a special item? Make an appointment and bring up to three objects for assessment and advice on care from a museum conservator. The museum does not provide estimates on value. Appointment required. Call 919-807-7823.

Have Fun with “Hamlet” 

Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m.-noon 

Use your bodies, voices, and imaginations to bring Shakespeare’s words to life and begin to connect to the rhythm of his works. Presented in conjunction with Raleigh Little Theatre. Ages 6-10 (with adult). Space is limited. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7996. 

Words, Words, Words!

Saturday, May 21, 1-2 p.m. 

Shakespeare loved playing with words, and he created more than 1,700 of them — including “champion,” “excitement,” and “zany” — that we still use today. Explore Shakespeare’s words and create words of your own. Presented in conjunction with Raleigh Little Theatre. Ages 11-14. Space is limited. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7996. 

Artist at Work: Jessica Dingle

Saturday, May 21, 1-3 p.m. (drop-in program)

A member of the Waccamaw Siouan tribe, Dingle focuses her artistic attention on painting and beading creations that reflect her heritage. Watch her, and talk with her, as she crafts intricate beaded designs. 

Film Screening: “Sitting at God’s Table” 

Sunday, May 22, 3 p.m. 

Leaders from five Raleigh-area religious communities gather for dinner. Their conversations acknowledge our differences, as well as what we have in common. A panel discussion with filmmakers Ellen L. Shepard (producer and director) and Eric Barstow (associate producer) and three of the film’s participants — David J. Hailey (pastor, Hayes Barton Baptist Church), Shakil Ahmed (president, Islamic Association of Cary), and Lucy Dinner (senior rabbi, Temple Beth Or) — follows the film. Not rated; run time: 75 min. 

“The Two Gentlemen of Verona”

Saturday, May 28, 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.; Sunday, May 29, 3 p.m.; Monday, May 30, 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.

Enjoy an outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s fast-paced romp through love, friendship and betrayal in the museum’s Fletcher Garden. Performances last roughly 90 minutes. Presented in conjunction with Raleigh’s Bare Theatre. 

For information about the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-807-7900 or access or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube.