Staff from the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer showing off their Panthers pride.

Staff from the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer
showing off their Panthers pride.

Governor Pat McCrory today made a wager with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper over this weekend’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.

If the Panthers prevail as Governor McCrory predicts, Hickenlooper will donate Colorado products to North Carolina food banks and animal shelters. In the unlikely event that the Panther lose, Governor McCrory will donate North Carolina turkey products to Colorado food banks and animals shelters.

Two state historic sites and the North Carolina Zoo have followed Governor McCrory’s lead by either accepting or making friendly wagers with their counterparts in Colorado.

Zoo Directors Put State Pride On The Line

The North Carolina Zoo accepted the Denver Zoo’s Super Bowl challenge. The losing zoo’s director will be welcoming visitors next week in the winning team’s jersey.

Transportation Museums Participate in Turntable Challenge

The North Carolina Transportation Museum will deck out its diesel engines in Broncos regalia with staff riding the turntable while singing the Broncos fight song if the Panthers lose, in addition to supplying to the Colorado Railroad Museum with a number of the Tar Heel State’s favorite foods.

This afternoon the Colorado museum accepted NCTM’s challenge.

Gold ore is being wagered by the Reed Gold Mine..

Gold ore is being wagered by the Reed Gold Mine..

Mine Museums Wager Gold

North Carolina and Colorado are connected through the spread of gold discoveries across the United States during the 19th century, and Reed Gold Mine and the Western Museum of Mining and Industry are raising the stakes on Super Bowl wagers by putting a gold ore specimen valued between $40 and $50 on the line.

Discounted Admission for #PanthersPride

To celebrate the Panthers and help get everyone in the team spirit, the North Carolina Zoo will be offering $2 off admission to guests wearing Panthers’ gear now through Sunday.

The North Carolina Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher and Jennette’s Pier will be offering $1 off admission to visitors in Panthers’ gear Sunday only.

The “Greensboro Four” at Woolworth’s. Photo from the (Greensboro) News & Record.

Fifty-six years ago today four students, now known as the “Greensboro Four,” sat down at the lunch counter at the Woolworth’s Department Store in downtown Greensboro and asked to be served. They were refused service, launching a sit-in movement that would spread throughout North Carolina and the South and transform the struggle for civil rights for African Americans.

The first page of a March 1960 memo describing Hodges' constitutional authority in law enforcement.

The first page of March 1960 memo describing Hodges’ constitutional authority in law enforcement.

Several documents available online through the North Carolina Digital Collections show how North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges and other state officials responded to the situation and demonstrate how public opinion was divided over the protests.

The Response from State Officials

The first—a public statement made by state attorney general Malcom B. Seawell on February 10, 1960—argues that though North Carolina did not have a law mandating the segregation of restaurants, businesses could refuse to serve whoever they choose.

Seawell calls the protesters as out-of-state “trouble-makers” and describes their actions as having:

posed and continue to pose a serious threat to the peace and good order in the communities in which they occur…Such trouble-makers are irresponsible, and their actions can only result in irreparable harm being done to racial relations here in North Carolina.

He also argues that the colleges which student protesters attend should work to curb their student actions, a sentiment Hodges later echoed in a phone conversation with a Woolworth’s executive.

Two memos—one laying out the governor’s constitutional authority to deal with the sit-in demonstrations and another describing the actions of governors in other states in similar situations—were immediately followed by a statement Hodges made on March 10 where he expressed his view on the sit-ins, saying:

…I do not think these demonstrations do any good or in the final analysis will even serve to accomplish the objectives of the demonstrators….I have no sympathy whatsoever for any group of people who deliberately engage in activities which any reasonable person can see will result in a breakdown of law and order as well as interference with the normal and proper operation of a private business.

A letter to Gov. Luther Hodges opposing the sit-in protesters.

A letter to Gov. Luther Hodges opposing the sit-in protesters.

The Public’s View

Four letters sent to Hodges’ office on the sit-ins reflect how divided the state’s citizens were on the issue.

A Burlington couple called on Hodges to close N.C. A&T and save what they viewed as wasted taxpayer money, while a Durham woman wrote that the demonstrations were “disgusting” and said that many of the protesters were “from the North.”

On the other side of the debate, a UNC-Chapel Hill student penned a note to express solidarity with the sit-in demonstrators and an ECU student rebuked the governor for not promoting freedom and free expression for all.

More to Explore

The papers described here are part of a larger Civil Rights digital collection that helps tell the story of the struggle for justice in North Carolina. An online exhibit from the N.C. Museum of History tells that story in another way.

A succinct overview of the Civil Rights movement can be found as NCpedia as can dozens of other in-depth articles on the subject.


Conservation treatment of The Pentecost, circa 1530 (by a follower of Bernard van Orley, oil on panel, 37 1/2 x 43 1/2 in, Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina).

In the past few years, the N.C. Museum of Art has been making headlines for using cutting-edge technology to conserve art that is often centuries old.

During a webcast next week, we’ll go behind-the-scenes to the museum’s conservation lab and talk with conservators about how they do their work and why it’s important.

Associate Conservator Perry Hurt will review the 21st century process of laser cleaning 16th century artworks (demonstrated in this video), while Chief Conservator Bill Brown and other members of the museum’s conservation team will explain the process of cleaning, varnishing and retouching some of the museum’s oldest paintings.

As part of the program, viewers will have the opportunity to ask questions of NCMA’s conservation staff live.

The webcast will be held Thursday, February 4, at 11 a.m. and registration for school groups and individuals is now open online.


Register Now for the Webcast →


This program is part of the ongoing DNCRTV series, produced by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, which brings the state’s cultural institutions and natural treasures to viewers wherever they are across the state, nation and world.

It is organized in tandem with NCMA’s Actual State exhibition, opening February 20, in which conservator Noelle Ocon will work through the conservation process before the public in the museum gallery.


NCMA Associate Conservator Perry Hurt works on a painting in the museum’s lab.


Aquarists at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher check sea turtles for strength and mobility.

Last week, the North Carolina Aquariums worked with a number of state and federal partners to rescue more than 600 cold-stunned turtles that turned up on the North Carolina coast after the drop in temperature.

Four Questions About Cold-Stunned Turtles

As we shared news of this effort led by the Aquariums, we received several questions about the science of sea turtles and the cold-stunned phenomenon. We consulted with some of the experts at the aquariums and wanted to share some answers they gave us.

What, exactly, does “cold-stunned” mean? Does it cause permanent damage?

“Cold-stunning” is a physical response to cold water temperatures. As the turtle’s body temperature falls, its body systems start to shut down. They become paralyzed with a decreased heart rate and lethargy, followed by shock, pneumonia and possibly death. It’s similar to what happens when humans become hypothermic. 

Often, the turtles are found floating inshore (shallow coastal waters and sounds) or stranded on beaches.


Rehabilitated cold-stunned turtles just before their release.

Is this something that’s seen every year of the North Carolina coast?

Cold-stunning is typically seen each year to some extent along the Eastern Seaboard, starting in the turtles’ northern range (New England) and moving south as seasonal temperatures take effect. In mid-December, the North Carolina Aquariums assisted with a large cold-stunning event that occurred in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, by taking in turtles for rehab.

This year’s cold-stunning event is unique because of its severity. The rapid and drastic change in temperatures led to a record number of cold-stunned turtles. 

In an average season, the N.C. Aquariums might only rehab between 40 and 60 turtles. The season has just begun, and already they have taken in more than 400 turtles.

How are the turtles rehabilitated?

The turtles are assessed by veterinary teams from N.C. State University College of Veterinary Medicine and state Aquariums husbandry staff. Some simply need time in warmer water temperatures to regain strength and mobility.

Others need extensive care due to infections, pneumonia and injuries. So, there’s a range of treatments depending on the severity.

Members of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Living Collections Section also volunteered to rehabilitate seven juvenile green sea turtles that required several weeks of medical care.

Several of the turtles have already been released into the wild.


A girl meets a rehabilitated turtle just before its release.

Is there a reason mostly green sea turtles are affected?

In cold-stunning events, aquarists typically see juvenile turtles and mostly green and Kemp’s ridley turtles. Each turtle species is sensitive to different water temperatures. Age and size have an effect, too. Greens start to stun when water temperatures reach the mid-50s. Whereas, a larger loggerhead sea turtle might be fine.

There are various theories on why this all happens. One is that the turtles are young and don’t know yet to move closer out to the Gulf Stream as temperatures drop.  Another is that because of the sudden weather change, they just didn’t have time to get out.

Where You Can Learn More

You can learn more about sea turtles by visiting the North Carolina Aquariums on the coast. Though the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island is closed through March. The aquariums at Fort Fisher and Pine Knoll Shores are both open and will offer free admission to everyone on January 18 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher also has a great educational website on sea turtles that you can explore from the comfort of your own home.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores offers special behind-the-scenes tours, where you can see how sea turtles are cared for.

How You Can Help

Both the N.C. Aquariums and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences need your support to keep doing this important work. Both the aquariums (use promo code: SEATURTLE2016) and the museum accept donations online.


The year 2015 was a great one for our This Day in North Carolina History project. Views on the project topped 250,000, a 57% increase over 2014.

To celebrate, here are top 10 posts of the previous year:



On November 30, 1963, a Dallas County switchboard operator attempted to call Raleigh numbers for JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. The Carolina connection to the case remains a mystery.



Six “Regulators” were hanged in Hillsborough on June 19, 1771. The hangings came two months after the Battle of Alamance.



North Carolina formally gave six western counties to the Continental Congress on December 22, 1789. The area was briefly the independent state of Franklin, but would become party of Tennessee in the next decade.



Ellen Smith was murdered by Peter DeGraff at the Zinzendorf Hotel in Winston-Salem on July 20, 1892. The dramatic case gained national fame from a popular turn-of-the-century folk ballad.



Notorious pirate Blackbeard was killed at Ocracoke Inlet on November 22, 1718 by soldiers sent by the governor of Virginia.



The Category Four storm Hurricane Hazel made landlfall on Brunswick County’s beaches on October 15, 1954. The storm was among the worst of the 20th century.



The town of Old Fort rededicated the once nationally-known Andrews Geyser on this day in May 6, 1976.



A Works Progress Administration worker described seeing an iceberg the size of small island off the Salter Path coast on January 30, 1940.



After being arrested for the murder of Randolph County woman Naomi Wise on April 8, 1808, Jonathan Lewis escaped to Ohio. A folk ballad was inspired by the case.



On October 21, 1851, rival mountain legislators shot it out in a Morganton courtroom over an estate dispute.

The This Day project features hundreds of stories of the people and places of the Tar Heel state, told day by day. Each post is tagged by location and subject, so you can use the search feature to browse the archive by your location or interest area.

We’re always on the look out for new topics, and if you have an idea for a topic we haven’t yet covered, feel free to shoot us an email and let us know about.

Thanks for your continued support of this project. We’re glad to see people enjoy reading these posts as much we enjoy writing them!

A look at the lifesaving service in Beaufort, Beethoven’s Ninth for kids in Raleigh and discussions of a Thomas Wolfe short story in Asheville are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Here are 10 things on our weekend agenda:

1. Discover the storied history of the U.S. Lifesaving Service in North Carolina Thursday at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.



2. Join the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh for a lively performance by funk, soul and jazz musician Kim Arrington Sunday.





4. Enjoy a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony adapted for kids and families by the N.C. Symphony Saturday in Raleigh.



5. Explore facts about the majestic black bear Saturday at South Mountains State Park in Connelly Springs.



6. Help the New Hope Audubon Society count the number of bald eagles at Jordan Lake in Apex Sunday.



7. Take your kids to Lake James State Park in Nebo Sunday to explore leaves up close with ranger.



8. Hear about how mammals are reacting in an era of extreme environmental change Thursday at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.



9. Learn the basics of using maps and a compass for navigation Sunday at Pilot Mountain State Park in Pinnacle.



10. Create a cool three-color illusion piece with Perler beads inspired by M. C. Escher Friday at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.



Check out DNCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!
Still looking for a way to ring in 2016? We have a few ideas for both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day across North Carolina:


1. Start your new year off Friday with a First Day Hike at one of North Carolina’s state parks. Most parks will have guided programs, and all parks will be open.



2. Ring in the new year Thursday with First Nigh Raleigh activities at the N.C. Museum of History and N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.



3. Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with patriotic music, historical reenactments with costumed characters and a dramatic reading of amendment’s text Friday at Tryon Palace in New Bern.



4. Swing in the New Year with Camel City Jazz Orchestra and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem Thursday at the Resolution 2016 Jazz Party.



5. Celebrate the arrival of 2016 with music by Strauss, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and others as performed by the N.C. Symphony Thursday in Raleigh.



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

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