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Museum exhibit wins award of excellence



WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -– Cape Fear Museum of History and Science was recently awarded top prize for exhibition excellence from the Southeastern Museums Conference.

Land of the Longleaf Pine, the newly visioned first chapter of the Museum’s core Cape Fear Stories exhibit, won the SEMC Award of Excellence for an exhibit with a budget of more than $100,000. The exhibit was judged alongside others in its class on several criteria, including concept, design, education and research.

“We worked very hard for more than five years on this exhibit,” Museum Director Ruth Haas said. “This award is a testament to the great job our staff did in creating a world-class, interactive exhibit experience.”

Land of the Longleaf Pine, which features an immersive longleaf pine forest environment, opened to the public on April 2, 2010.

The 2,400-square-foot exhibit explores the longstanding presence of Native Americans in the area; European settlement of the region; how people made a living from the forests; Colonial commerce; Wilmington’s bustling port; and life during the American Revolution.

Like so many other of the Museum’s exhibits, Land of the Longleaf Pine is an interactive experience. Hands-on elements include the opportunity to be an archaeologist and reconstruct a Native American artifact, a giant map illustrating the comings and goings of goods to the Colonial port, and a computer activity that traces the lives of past Wilmingtonians.

At a cost of about $500,000, the exhibit was the largest project the Museum had undergone since the 1991 expansion. A Museums for America Grant from the Institute for Museums and Library Services was the primary funding source.

Grant-matching funds and/or in-kind gifts were made possible in part by New Hanover County; The David Swain Family; Cape Fear Museum Associates; Grassroots Science Museums Collaborative; NC Humanities Council; Landfall Foundation; International Paper; Corning, Inc., Foundation; NC State Ports Authority; GE-Hitachi; Dean Hardwoods; Cape Fear Coin Club; and Discovery Place.

“This exhibit came to fruition thanks to a wide range of support, financial and otherwise,” Haas said. “Other cultural institutions, scholars, granting agencies, individuals and corporate donors made this exhibit possible.”

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