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Musket fire will fill the air at House in the Horseshoe’s annual battle re-enactment Saturday and Sunday.

Revolutionary War musket fire in Sanford, a celebration of Lebanese-American culture in Raleigh and special Civil War-themed tours of the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources this weekend.

The weekend kicks off Thursday with a program highlighting famous and infamous women from North Carolina history hosted by the N.C. Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh and a riveting lecture on the World War II action that took place off the North Carolina coast at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.

Friday, the fun continues with another round of the Museum of Cape Fear’s popular Arsenal Park tours in Fayetteville and a screening of the Academy Award-winning drama 12 Years a Slave under the stars at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Saturday, the food and culture of Lebanon will come alive during a family festival at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, right after World War I re-enactors join Gov. Pat McCrory and other officials in kicking of North Carolina commemoration of the centennial of World War I at the State Capitol across the street. Down the road at the N.C. Museum of Art, traditional Chinese music will accompany demonstrations of calligraphy and origami by visiting Chinese high school students, before folk legend Judy Collins performs on the outdoor stage.

Throughout the weekend, the Museum of Art will offer friendly-family tours of its galleries and park, while musket fire and a burning cart light up House in the Horseshoe’s annual Revolutionary War battle re-enactment in Sanford.

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

From Asheville to the Outer Banks and from intimate poetry to  small-town murder mysteries, North Carolina authors have stories to brighten up your summer, whether you’re headed to the beach or sitting at home in your favorite chair.

The N.C. Arts Council has selected just a few new 2014 releases from some of our state’s finest authors for you to explore.

Here are 10 of their picks:

1. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (St. Martin’s Press, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen’s atmospheric novel examines a collection of aging lakeside cabins and the visitors who return, year after year, in pursuit of their dreams and desires.

2. The Hunger of Freedom by Shelby Stephenson (Red Dashboard, 2014): Former editor of Pembroke Magazine, and soon to be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Benson native Shelby Stephenson’s new poetry collection explores family, ancestors, ghosts and landscape.

3. Byrd by Kim Church (Dzanc Books, 2014): The debut novel from this Raleigh resident and N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient tells the story of a 33 year-old woman coming to terms with secretly bearing and surrendering a son for adoption without telling his father.

4. Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover by Ann B. Ross (Viking Adult, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Ann B. Ross’s latest installment in her popular series chronicles Miss Julia’s efforts at teaching a visiting granddaughter how to be a lady.

5. Limestone Gumption by Bryan E. Robinson (Gale/Five Star Publishers, 2014): Retired UNC Charlotte professor Bryan Robinson crafts a mystery around a psychologist who becomes a murder suspect after returning to his hometown to confront his long-lost father.

6. Nothing Below But Air by Pat Riviere-Seel (Main Street Rag, 2014): A new poetry collection from Shelby native and Asheville resident Pat Riviere-Seel, who serves as associate editor for the Asheville Poetry Review.

7. Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, 2014): A long-time member of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Creative Writing faculty, Ruth Moose pens her first “cozy,” a small-town murder mystery with a touch of comedy, playing out at the Dixie Dew Bed and Breakfast in the fictitious Littleboro, N.C.

8. Just Add Water by David R. Tanis (Moonshine Cove Publishing, 2014): Outer Banks resident David R. Tanis draws on his career as an attorney and a judge to create the character of Hamish O’Halloran, an unconventional lawyer who bumbles his way through a series of humorous misadventures.

9. In the Season of Blood and Gold by Taylor Brown (Press 53, 2014): Wilmington writer Taylor Brown’s debut story collection features a host of timeless characters from alligator wrestlers to Confederate soldiers to a tattooed artist.

10. Lost in Bermooda by Mike Litwin (Albert Whitman & Company, 2014): Greenville resident Mike Mitwin tells the story of a “mootpian” tropical island society populated by walking, talking cows with human intelligence. Mitwin wrote and illustrated this tale for young readers.

More to Explore from the Arts Council

Don’t forget to check out the N.C. Arts Council’s North Carolina Literary Trails website and guidebooks for more information on Tar Heel writers and the places they lived and wrote about. The featured writers list that is part of the Trails website is a great place to start.

The Arts Council has also produced guidebooks to African American music in eastern North Carolina, the music traditions of western North Carolina and western North Carolina’s Cherokee heritage that are great companions for a specific trip or fascinating reads in their own right.

If you missed the Arts Council’s guides to books and bookstores from last summer, be sure to see those, too.

Other Resources on North Carolina Writers and Books

If history’s more your thing, be sure to check out the offerings of N.C. Historical Publications. From an overview of the pirates who operated off the Outer Banks to histories of specific people and places, they have something for just about everybody.

If all the above isn’t enough, the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame and the N.C. Literary Map, produced by UNC Greensboro and the State Library will give you even more ideas for authors and great summer reads.

So that’s about it from us. What are you reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.

Special thanks to the N.C. Arts Council’s literature and theater director, David Potorti, for compiling this list of great reads.

See how beer was made during the 18th century Saturday at Fort Dobbs in Statesville

An exploration of 18th century beer in Statesville, a look at the view 20 feet from stardom in Raleigh and a lively concert of indie folk tunes in Winston-Salem are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The fun starts Thursday at the coast, where the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras will help kids make sandcastle-themed crafts and host a talk on the Life-Saving Service with author Chip Marshall, as staff from the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh read kids a tall tale after taking a short tour of one of the museum’s wonderful galleries.

Friday, the fun continues at the coast, where the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will offer another of its popular cruises aboard a Duke University research vessel exploring marine life, while the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will celebrate with U.S. Coast Guard’s birthday with an art making session for families inspired by the military branch. Back in the Triangle, the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will show the space thriller Gravity under the stars.

Saturday, Statesville‘s Fort Dobbs will turn into a brewery from the past with interpreters making beer using 18th century techniques and explaining how different varieties of the beverage were made, while Fort Fisher in Kure Beach presents hands-on activities and lectures focused on understanding the archaeology of the site’s Civil War past.

In Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of History will offer tours of its outdoor agricultural exhibit and invites the little buccaneers in your family to set sail for the museum for a morning of pirate-themed tales and crafts. Across town, the N.C. Museum of Art will host interactive tours for families followed by studio time where kids and parents can work together to make colorful pieces of art before screening the critically-acclaimed documentary 20 Feet From Stardomand hosting Lisa Fischer, one of the luminaries from the film for a concert.

Music will also fill the air outside the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem as it hosts Hiss Golden Messenger and William Tyler for what is sure to be a fantastic concert of modern folk music.

Throughout the weekend, knights and dragons will take center stage at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo as it offers performances of the classic story of Don Quixote adapted for kids.

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

Secretary Kluttz learns about operating the printing press at Historic Halifax

Secretary Kluttz learns about operating the printing press at Historic Halifax from Assistant Site Manager Carl Burke

Hundreds of well-wishers looked on as 30 immigrants from 23 countries officially became American citizens at the State Capitol this Fourth of July, and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz was proud to be there to help officiate.

After the Oath of Allegiance was administered and America welcomed its 30 newest citizens, a military-style band played, kicking off a day of revelry that included musical performances, historical and military displays, carriage rides, face painting and hands-on activities for kids.

Secretary Kluttz and Deputy Secretary for Archives and History Kevin Cherry enjoy the Fourth of July festivities at the State Capitol

Soon back on the road, the Secretary had another Independence Day celebration to attend at Historic Halifax. In Halifax, Secretary Kluttz toured the site with Assistant Site Manager Carl Burke before working a hand-operated printing press.

Though the Secretary had been to Halifax before for a session with a number of organizations and state Sen. Angela Bryant on how to leverage the the area’s rich history for economic development, she hadn’t yet seen the impressive Montfort Archaeology Exhibit, which combines panel exhibits with walkways over archaeological excavations around the foundations of a home which demonstrates what life was like for a wealth early resident of Halifax.

The day rounded out with more fun Fourth of July activities, including food and fireworks. In short, the Secretary and Deputy Secretary Kevin Cherry were excited to spend Independence Day in the town where independence from Great Britain was first called for by a state assembly.

WRAL did a great story on the ceremony at the Capitol, and photos from the entire event are available on the Capitol’s Flickr site.

Sec. Kluttz and Department of Commerce Sec. Sharon Decker present Ben Long with an Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

Sec. Kluttz and Department of Commerce Sec. Sharon Decker present
Ben Long with an Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

If you know Ashe County, then you know that the area is famous for quite a few things—the Blue Ridge Parkway runs through it, you can find some awesome cheese there, Christmas trees grow on the side of almost every mountain and some talented old-time musicians call the region home.

Perhaps the most famous things you’ll find in the county, though, are frescoes by noted artist Ben Long. Late last month, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz had the privilege of meeting Mr. Long and joining N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker in presenting him with an Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

“I am honored to be here tonight to celebrate someone whose art has had a tremendous impact on North Carolina and our cultural resources,” said Secretary Kluttz said after presenting Mr. Long with the award. “By sharing his talent, Ben Long has brought worldwide attention to our state. We are most grateful for his contributions.”

The award, one of the most prestigious in the state, is given by the governor for outstanding service to the state.

Though best known for the frescoes he painted in two Ashe County churches during the 1970s which draw thousands of the visitors to the area every year,Ben Long has also painted frescoes in Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Wilkes counties. His first frescoes are actually in Italy.

Aside from his fresco work, Long has had a long and successful career as a portrait artist.

The event was sponsored by the Ashe County Frescoes Foundation and held at the Jefferson Landing Clubhouse in Jefferson.

Check out VisitNC’s Project 543 blog and the websites of the Ashe County Frescoes Foundation and the Ben Long Fresco Trail for more on how you can see Ben Long’s world class art in person.

Join Historic Stagville for a celebration of blues and gospel music Saturday

A new multimedia exhibit in Winston-Salem, storytelling from the Jim Crow South in New Bern and a festival of African American music in Durham are just a few of the opportunities for family fun you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The weekend kicks off Thursday with two great programs for kids. The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem will showcase art made by kids at a local children’s hospital and help kids make some art of their own on site, and the Museum of Albemarle in Elizabeth City will show Finding Nemo as part of its summer movies for kids series. Tryon Palace in New Bern will host African American storyteller Elisha Minter for an evening stories, photos and foot-stomping music from the Jim Crow era South.

Friday will bring two great opportunities to see and explore the North Carolina coast. The N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will offer take you aboard a Duke University research vessel to explore local marine life, while the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport will host a sunset cruise focusing on the history of the region. Back in the Piedmont, the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will show the critically-acclaimed film Her as SECCA in Winston-Salem opens a new multimedia exhibition that examines the concept of life in the art of Neil Goldberg.

Saturday, the Maritime Museum in Southport will offer another installment of its popular bike tours that highlight the history of its hometown, while Historic Stagville in Durham will present live performances of gospel and blues music in the shadow of its picturesque historic buildings. Just down the road in Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of Art will offer free, interactive tours for families of the colorful prints in the Estampas de la raza and the children’s book illustrations in the Tall Tales and Huge Hearts exhibits. Later in the day, the Museum of Art will present a concert of Renaissance music and a performance by Grammy Award-winning children’s musician Dan Zanes.

This weekend is your last chance to see Mail Call at Tryon Palace in New Bern. This unique exhibit from the Smithsonian showcases military mail and communications from the American Revolution to current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This weekend is also your last chance check out the American Dance Festival in Durham and the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro. Both of these awe-inspiring annual events are featured on the N.C. Arts Council’s list of the Tar Heel State’s top summer performing arts experiences.

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

The week after Memorial Day, thousands of folks from 41 states and five foreign countries crowded around the Bob Julian Roundhouse at the N.C. Transportation Museum to celebrate the arrival of 26 classic streamlined, diesel locomotives dating from the 1930s through the 1950s.

The event, called Streamliners at Spencer, was so popular that all the hotel rooms in surrounding Rowan County were sold out during its four-day run.

As part of the festivities, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz joined Norfolk Southern CEO Charles Moorman and officials from the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and Virginia Museum of Transportation in welcoming everyone to Spencer. The pair also thanked the staff and sponsors for their hard work and generosity that made the event possible and turned the ceremonial screw that kicked off the restoration of Norfolk and Western Class J 611.

That particular locomotive will be restored at the museum during the coming months.

Photos from Streamliners are available on the N.C. Transportation Museum’s website.

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