MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Veterans, history buffs and museum fanatics crowded the foyer of the History Place, Jan. 27 as they prepared for the grand opening of a long-awaited exhibit, “Warriors of Carteret County.”
As Jerry Jones, Morehead City mayor; Sara Barbee, curator for the History Place; Steve A. Anderson, exhibit designer and fabricator; and Janet Eshleman, the president of the History Place, cut the ribbon to the exhibit showcasing the military service of Carteret County, guests streamed through the newly-created display of artifacts, uniforms and images covering 300 square feet of the history museum.
“I’ve had the opportunity to get a little sneak preview of the exhibit and I can tell you, it’s emotionally overwhelming,” said Jones. “Carteret County is a melting pot of people but we are who we are because of our military. All of the men and women that have given parts of their lives, they’re loyal to their country, to their family and to their community. It’s made America what it is.”
The Warriors exhibit features history and artifacts that surround the country’s service men and women dating back to World War I.
“This is a tremendous project and something bigger than we have ever tried before,” said Cindi Hamilton, executive director of the History Place. “There are hands-on displays, period artwork, under-exhibit tunnels for kids, video interviews of veterans, a dress-up combat theater and full immersion dioramas with personal stories, artifacts and records donated by the county’s military personnel, both past and present. The exhibit is absolutely amazing and something to behold.”
Anderson has worked on the project for the past year and sees it as a living tribute.
“(The) military plays a huge part in our community and also in the nation’s history and that’s what this is – it’s a history museum,” said Anderson. “People often look at the past 30 to 40 years and they think ‘well that’s not historic.’ Well, I beg to differ. Yesterday is historic and people have to start thinking in those terms when you want to connect to the community. This exhibit is not static. It’s supposed to grow so over time it should continue (to) grow in stories.”
Barbee has been working through a backlog of more than 40 years of donated military uniforms and artifacts, some of which have never before been displayed because of their fragile nature.
“I call (Anderson) my dream,” said Barbee. “My dream walked in the door. I had ideas that I couldn’t put together but he could build. He’s really jumped over so many obstacles. This is his vision and I give him the credit.”
During the grand opening event, guests enjoyed a catered reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and live music.
The permanent exhibit will now be open during regular museum hours which are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and the first Saturday of each month.
For more information, call 252-247-7533.