Museum Exhibits

Now On Exhibit

Click to hear Earl Ijames, Curator of African American History at the NC Museum of History discuss the significance of this special exhibit.

About the Exhibit

This exhibit, from the North Carolina Museum of History, depicts the struggle that newly freed African Americans faced to maintain their freedom in the post-Civil War and Reconstruction Era of North Carolina.

Freedom! A Promise Disrupted: North Carolina, 1862-1901, allows visitors to step through time and view how the Civil War and Reconstruction affected North Carolina’s citizens. This powerful exhibit highlights African American’s flight to freedom and their involvement in the Civil War.

“North Carolina suffered under slavery for two hundred years until the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865,” said Earl L. Ijames, curator of African American history at the N.C. Museum of History. “After the Civil War formerly enslaved people formed families, established churches, educational institutions and communities for the first time in history only to see racism and segregation reverse those gains by the turn of the 20th century.”

Following the Civil War, African American citizens pushed for Radical Reconstruction that would guarantee them more rights and protection under the law. This was followed by heavy and violent white backlash. Visitors will be able to follow along with the journey it took for African American citizens to gain equality.

“After the Civil War, African Americans in North Carolina helped to rebuild the nation on a new foundation, one that for a brief moment hoped to fulfill to the promise of liberty for all,” said Susanna Lee, exhibit curator and Associate Professor at North Carolina State University’s Department of History.”

Click on the presentation below to view a Virtual Tour of the exhibit.




Permanent Exhibit Galleries

Explore two floors of exhibits that tell the story of southern North Carolina from the American Indians to an early 20th century general store. Four hundred years of history await you...

American Indians

Early Exploration & Settlement

Naval Stores



A General Store