North Carolina History Center launches statewide Civil War story project, seeks oral histories

Photo via 
Gerry Dincher/Flickr
Photo via Gerry Dincher/Flickr

Press release:

For Immediate Release

History Center Launches Statewide Civil War Story Project

Fayetteville The North Carolina Civil War History Center announced today plans to collect 100 family Civil War stories from each of the 100 counties of the state over the next year – up to 10,000 stories total. Everyone who provides a story automatically becomes a founding member of the History Center through December, 2016.

“This is one of the largest public history projects undertaken in the state,” says Dr. James R. Leutze, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Chairman of the History Center’s Statewide Advisory Board. “If we don’t collect these family stories now, many will be lost to the ages,” he says.

Memories from the Civil War remain in the family histories handed down from generation to generation. This initiative, entitled “Our State, Our Stories,” is intended to make certain that these stories will be available for others to read and understand. The stories will become part of the History Center’s collection and will be accessible online. Some of the stories will serve as the basis for the narrative that the History Center itself will tell.

The History Center has engaged ten “Story Specialists” from across the state to assist in the collection of the stories over the next nine months, according to David Winslow, the History Center’s Senior Consultant. “Each Story Specialist has been assigned a region of the state in which to work. They now are in the process of contacting genealogical and historical associations, local history museums, and North Carolina rooms in libraries of their regions’ counties. They plan to canvass local Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy,and Sons of Union Veterans organizations across the state as well.

The Center is collecting stories by three methods:

  • Online submission by individual storytellers directly to the Center’s web page: nccivilwarcenter.org/share-a-story
  • Oral histories gathered and recorded by Story Specialists in conversations
  • Printed forms that can be completed and mailed to the Center at P.O. Box 53865, Fayetteville, NC 28305

The $65 million History Center will be built adjacent to the remains of the Confederate Arsenal in Fayetteville which was destroyed by Gen. William T. Sherman and his troops in March, 1865. The Center will be housed in several buildings on the four-acre site which is presently occupied by the State-supported Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. The new History Center is planned to supplant the existing museum and be in full operation by 2020.

The Center will have one of the most robust digital outreach programs of any museum in the state and region, particularly reaching out to 4th, 8th and 11th grade students, all of whom are required to study this period of our history.

For information on how to reach the History Center Story Specialist in your area, please call 910-491-0602 or email info@nccivilwarcenter.org.

The North Carolina Civil War History Center is part of the Division of State History Museums, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

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