One of our C2C project partners, the North Carolina Museums Council, is turning 50 this year. NCMC had its first organizational meeting in Raleigh, at the Sir Walter Hotel, on December 4, 1963. The achievement of a half-century’s persistence is a common marker of historical significance. 50 years’ endurance often qualifies objects as “antiques.” Similarly, houses must usually be 50 years old to be considered for Historic Register status. The organization’s longevity, then, is worth celebrating. The NCMC annual meeting next week will be in downtown Raleigh again for the organization’s Golden Anniversary. It will be a great opportunity to see colleagues from across the state, learn from their experiences, and strengthen your institution’s network of support.
50 years ago, Raleigh looked very different. While the Sir Walter Hotel had been around since the 1920s and its name reflected colonial revivalism, the city’s urban renewal was beginning. The brand-new legislative building (in the center of left photo) held its inaugural session and ushered in a wave of state government building and cityscape transformation.
50 years ago, approximately 35 museum professionals attended NCMC’s first meeting. The president of the Tennessee Association of Museums “spoke on the implementation and advantages of the state-wide organization of museum personnel.” Founding members decided to meet 3 times each year in March, June, and December. They charged $1.00 for membership, $1.00 for meeting registration, and $2.00 for meeting luncheons. The first president was Frank Walsh of the Department of Archives and History, Division of Historic Sites.
50 years ago, Walsh and Secretary-Treasurer Joye E. Jordan sent letters inviting all North Carolina museum personnel to join NCMC and announcing the organization’s purpose: “…to encourage and improve the practices of museums in this State; to stimulate public interest, support, and understanding; and to provide for the inter-change of ideas and co-operation among the museums and museum personnel.” Although members and fees have shifted over the half century, the organization and its purpose stand strong.
We hope to see you here in Raleigh for the big event!
Sources: 1963 annual report, ORG 119.1 & letter “To All North Carolina Museum Personnel:” in June 26, 1964 meeting folder, ORG 119.5. See State Archives records ORG 119 for more NCMC history.