Museum Anniversary -- by By: Wanda Lassiter, Curator, Museum of the Albemarle

The Museum of the Albemarle (MOA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary in May 2017. In last month’s issue we discussed life at the museum in the 1970s. This issue of Albemarle Tradewinds will focus on the 1980s.
In 1980, MOA completed its first year as an admission free, state maintained institution with expanded programs and higher attendance. The permanent gallery was renovated during this era. Changes in acquisition policies due to the now state-owned museum changed how and what artifacts were accessioned into the collection. World War II uniforms, flint-lock muskets, cameras, a wooden bee hive, a toy tea service, Norfolk & Southern Railroad pamphlets, and items obtained from the 1988 auction of Bayside items were acquired during the 1980s.
Directors Paul Mears and Barbara Taylor guided MOA to success with exhibits on Colonial Period fashions, swimwear, Catfish Hunter, regional high school bands, textile production, and Elizabeth City architecture. At age 15, MOA celebrated with an exhibit featuring a panorama of life in the Albemarle region along with a commemorative exhibit for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Governor J. C. B. Ehringhaus. Events in 1987 related to the 20th anniversary and featured a birthday party with pony rides, dancing, singing, balloons, and of course cake.
Visitors to MOA left notes for the staff that included the following: “[MOA] helps children appreciate what our ancestors went through. Every teacher should bring their classes here.” “Nicest; most attractive; most informative.”
“Education is what museums are all about, not just old, old artifacts.” “The museum may well be the anchor or stimulus to seeing great thinks happen in Elizabeth City.”
Programming during the 1980s included a festival held in July 1984 as part of the celebration to commemorate America’s 400th Anniversary of the Roanoke Voyages. Other programming in the 1980s included sessions on historic preservation, archaeology, and oral history. Children’s workshops on natural dyes, fossils, and plantation life were well attended. Museum Days were held at homes throughout the museum’s interpretative counties. MOA partnered with the Pasquotank River Yacht Club and Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc., to sponsor the Moth Boat Benefit Regatta beginning in 1989.
MOA staff expanded with the employment of future long-timers, Mary Tirak and Lynette Sawyer. Mary began in 1985 and just retired in December 2015 with 31 years. Lynette will celebrate her 28th year here on August 15.
Please stop by and wish her a happy anniversary.
She can tell you quite a few more stories about the what went on in the museum during the 1980s!
Pick up next month’s issue of the Albemarle Tradewinds to learn about the museum during the 1990s.
Museum Anniversary -- by By: Wanda Lassiter, Curator, Museum of the Albemarle Museum Anniversary -- by By: Wanda Lassiter, Curator, Museum of the Albemarle Reviewed by kensunm on 10:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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