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Our latest newsletter: History Center’s 2018 Progress to Date! There’s much to tell you! We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in the first five months of 2018.

Dear Friend of the History Center:

There’s much to tell you! We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in the first five months of 2018.

First, the land- and building-related news:

  • Moorman, Kizer & Reitzel completed a Boundary and Topographical Survey of the six-acre Arsenal Park.
  • Tom J. Keith & Associates appraised the three houses that will make up the History Center “Village,” and the History Center purchased the house at 831 Arsenal Avenue.
  • In May 2018, our sister organization–the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation–formally transferred ownership of our current office building, the Culbreth House, to the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center Foundation. The staff and board of the Museum of the Cape Fear have been amazing partners throughout our planning process, and we appreciate all their hard work on our behalf.
  • In June 2018, the City is transferring ownership of the Arsenal House and Arsenal Park land to the History Center.
  • ECS Southeast, LLC conducted an EPA Phase 1 study of Arsenal Park and issued its findings in March 2018. The study concluded that there was no need for further environmental testing.
  • Also in March 2018, New South Associates, Inc. completed its geophysical and archeological survey of the site of the proposed main facility, parking areas, and new site of three historic houses to be located within the History Center Village. Archeologist Shawn Patch presented the company’s findings to the public on April 17th at Highland Presbyterian Church. The fascinating images and captions in the aerial photo below depict the site as it existed in the 19th century.
On April 18th, we held our Phase 1 groundbreaking in Arsenal Park. Speakers included:

  • Governor Jim Hunt and Governor Jim Martin, who serve as active honorary co-chairs of our Board of Advisors
  • Dr. Jim Leutze, chair of the Board of Advisors and Chancellor Emeritus of UNC Wilmington;
  • The Rev. Aaron J. Johnson;
  • Dr. James Anderson, Chancellor of Fayetteville State University;
  • Tony Rand, former State Senator;
  • The Honorable Patricia Timmons-Goodson, former NC Supreme Court Associate Justice;
  • Michael Boose, Cumberland County Commissioner; and
  • The Honorable Mitch Colvin, Mayor of Fayetteville.

We invited donors, members, and neighbors, and based on RSVPs had anticipated about 200 would attend, but a head count by a news organization showed that 300 were there! You can listen to individual speeches at this link:https://nccivilwar.wpengine.com/groundbreaking-ceremony-speeches/

Here’s a link to the Fayetteville Observer‘s report on the groundbreaking:http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180418/ground-broken-for-65m-civil-war-history-center-in-fayetteville

… and a link to an editorial in the May 23rd Fayetteville Observer on the History Center, its inclusion in the upcoming budgets of the City* and County*, and information on an upcoming presentation by Hari Jones at Fayetteville State University:http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180523/our-view-civil-war-center-takes-right-approach.

*We’re very grateful to the City of Fayetteville and Cumberland County for their financial commitments! When you see members of the City Council, Board of Commissioners, or their administrations, please take a moment to thank them. We couldn’t have reached this point without their support.

Below is a flyer for the June 19th (“Juneteenth”) event referenced in the May 23rd editorial above. The public is welcome to attend this free lecture, but please make plans to arrive early! You may remember that Hari Jones’ presentation in October 2012 at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre was standing-room-only for that informative and captivating evening.

The History Center commissioned two students, Dorien Caldwell of Fayetteville State University and Angel Garcia of UNC Pembroke, to create an 18-minute video on the history of the United States / Confederate Arsenal. The students did all the filming, research, and copywriting themselves, and the result is outstanding. You may watch the video at this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjCweRmM7YE&feature=youtu.be

One of our most important upcoming projects is a week-long Summer Educators’ Seminar that will take place at UNC Wilmington, Raleigh, and Fayetteville in July. Sixteen elementary, middle school, and high school teachers from across the state were chosen through a rigorous application process to participate in lectures, tours, and panel discussions with scholars in Civil War and Reconstruction history and with our exhibit designers. Dr. Michael McElreath, Director of Experiential Learning at Cary Academy and a member of our Board of Advisors, is leading the seminar. Lecturers will include:

  • Harry Watson, professor of history at UNC Chapel Hill and a member of our Board of Advisors;
  • Spencer Crew, former Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History;
  • Chris Fonvielle, former history professor at UNC Wilmington and member of our Board of Advisors;
  • LeRae Umfleet, historian with the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources;
  • Philip Gerard, professor at UNC Wilmington and a member of our Board of Advisors; and
  • Thavolia Glymph, professor of History and African-American Studies at Duke University.

The results of this seminar will lay the groundwork for the History Center’s digital education component which will be available to North Carolina students–as approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the State Superintendent–and will be a critical piece of the Center’s instruction and research knowledge base.

Also this summer, we will seek bids for construction and engineering on the three houses that will form the History Center Village. We’re making plans now to move those houses–all 3 in one week!–and expect that to take place this summer as well. We’ll let you know the dates. Afterwards we can begin working toward renovating, upfitting, and equipping the houses for their new uses.

In 18 months we expect to be positioned to break ground on the main facility, the 60,000 square foot history center itself! In the meantime, we continue to seek private support from individuals, corporations, and foundations across the state as we work to meet the State’s challenge to raise $2.5 million in cash gifts by June 30, 2019.

  • To make a secure gift to the campaign by credit card, please click on the “Donate” button below and then on the “Donate Now” button below the photo on the page that follows. (To make a pledge, a gift that includes a corporate match, or a memorial/honorary gift, please call our office at 910-491-0602 or email NCCivilWarCenter@gmail.com to request a pledge card.)
  • To become a new member or renew an expiring membership, please visit the Join Page and click button corresponding to the Membership Level you prefer on the page that follows.


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