North Carolina’s State Historic Sites are well known for the interpretation and preservation of the state’s Civil War story, but combining that story with the arts is a fresh approach. On Aug. 14, 2nd Saturdays programs – a series of more than 100 free events that was organized to bring together artists, history and authentic North Carolina culture at all 37 of the Department of Cultural Resources’ museums – will provide many new experiences. For more information and a map of this summer’s events statewide, visit www.ncculture.com.
Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks will focus on the importance of community dances as a diversion for soldiers and civilians from the harsh realities of life during the Civil War.
On Aug. 14 the site staff will host a community picnic and a social dance highlighting the art of Victorian dance. Re-enactors will provide dance instruction and demonstrations, accompanied by a 19th-century-style band. Artisans and vendors will have goods for sale. The festivities are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.
“Living Our Civil War History” will be the theme for the day Aug. 14 at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach. The State Historic Site will partner with local artists and vendors to step back in time and explore the world of 1865, with period-style crafts and goods for sale including handmade models by Bobby Ward.
The staff will offer costumed tours and weapons demonstrations during the 2nd Saturdays event, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Period music will be performed at scheduled times throughout the day. Admission is free.
North Carolina authors will share their works with audiences on the grounds of the Bennett family farm in Durham from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on Aug. 14. Guest authors include Michael Hardy, Jim Wise and Betty Schiefelbein.
Artisans and craftsmen will show and sell their wares, including Julie Orson, the creator of handmade books. Civil War and Bennett Place souvenirs and collectibles sold in the shop help support preservation of Bennett Place State Historic Site. Admission is free.
Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson
Archaeology is the topic of the day Aug. 14 at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson in Winnabow. The program is “Can You Dig It? A Day with Dr. Stan South – Archaeologist, Storyteller and Author.”
Dr. South will tell about his excavations at the state historic site in the 1950s and 1960s and will discuss his new book, “Colonial Brunswick: Archaeology of a British Colonial Town.” The African American field technicians who assisted with that work will also speak. Other storytellers will be involved in the program from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., along with authors and poets. Admission is free.
Visitors Aug. 14 at the CSS Neuse in Kinston will explore metal-working, a very important part of daily life during the Civil War. Blacksmiths and tinsmiths made a wide array of household goods, farm tools, camp goods and military tools.
From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., watch the craftsmen create everyday objects from lumps of metal, and browse through the wares they have for sale, including jewelry. Admission is free.
A Saturday evening of entertainment is in store for visitors to the State Capitol in Raleigh on Aug. 14. A free outdoor concert on the south plaza at 6:30 p.m. will showcase the state’s diverse music and dance traditions.
The young Little River Cloggers will kick off the show in Southern Appalachian style, followed by storyteller Obakunle Akinlana, who uses drums and other African instruments to draw listeners into his traditional African folk tales.
The Huckleberry Brothers will close out the show performing traditional and popular Civil War music in a way that is faithful to the original form. Their instruments — authentically reproduced in the designs and materials of the mid-1800s — are the five-string banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, tin whistle, harmonica, bones and tambourine.
Artists, musicians and food vendors will be selling their goods during the 2nd Saturdays event. Admission is free.
Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace
The State Historic Site in Weaverville that interprets the history of North Carolina’s Civil War governor, Zebulon B. Vance, will explore “The Harvest from the Farm” as its 2nd Saturdays program Aug. 10 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The program focuses on the agricultural heritage of a 19th-century mountain farm. Featured artists will showcase products from the farm and other handmade items related to farm life – food, candles, textiles, etc. Admission is free.
The State Historic Site in Durham, once the state’s largest antebellum plantation, will host “Learning the Land: Native Americans at Stagville” on Aug. 14 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The events will focus on the lives of early Native Americans in North Carolina, with an emphasis on the Old Indian Trading Path at Stagville.
Participants include potter Tracey Broome, wood turner Frank Penta, basket maker Anabela Mendesa and candle maker Jo Separk. Other goods for sale will include homemade artisanal bread from Mr. and Mrs. Gaddis, and soaps and candles from Angel Clay. Admission is free.
Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens
The 2nd Saturdays theme at Tryon Palace in New Bern is “300 Years of Arts and Crafts” from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Aug. 14 as the palace celebrates its tricentennial birthday this year. Paid admission is required for palace events, but prices are discounted for 2nd Saturdays.
Artisans demonstrating period-specific crafts feature weaver Victoria Sowers and painter Jolene McCann; others may include a blacksmith and a basket weaver. Numerous hands-on craft activities are planned for children.
Historical interpreters in character will help visitors learn to quilt by having them stitch on the Hay House quilt, and will discuss the German paper-cutting art form of “Scherenschnitte,” which was popular in the 1800s.
Roanoke Island Festival Park
Visitors can see a free showing of the new documentary “Rescue Men: The Story of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station” at 7 p.m. on Aug. 14 at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo.
Artwork on display during the day will feature weather and sky photography by Michael Halminski, Ray Matthews and Eve Turek. Paid admission to the park is required.
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. For more information, visit www.ncculture.com.