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Sec. Kluttz welcomes guests to the "The War of 1812 and the Backcountry" symposium

Sec. Kluttz welcomes guests to the “The War of 1812 and the Backcountry” symposium

Did you know that the War of 1812 didn’t actually end until 1814? Cultural Resources Sec. Susan Kluttz was one of about 100 folks intrigued with this and other myths of the War of 1812 from Dr. Donald Hickey, the nation’s foremost expert on the conflict.

The talk was part of a larger symposium on what is often called America’s “Forgotten War” that was held at the Rowan Museum in Salisbury. Organized by DCR’s Office of Archives and History in cooperation with the N. C. Literary and Historical Society, the N.C. Humanities Council and the N.C. Society of the Daughters of the War of 1812, the symposium also featured lectures by Cawtawba College’s Dr. Gary Freeze and  Howard Kittell, superintendent of Andrew Jackson’s Nashville home. It calumniated in the Rowan Museum’s annual Colonial Spring Frolic.

Some of the other topics covered in the symposium included an overview of Andrew Jackson’s presidency and the role of some Rowan County residents in the War of 1812.

Video of some of the symposium is available online. The event was part of North Carolina’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

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Head to the James K. Polk Historic Site in Pineville Saturday for a living history event featuring civilian and military re-enactors.

Head to the James K. Polk Historic Site in Pineville Saturday for a living history event featuring civilian and military re-enactors.

Living history events in Pineville and Burlington, an antique truck show in Spencer and a scavenger hunt at our three historic sites in Durham are just a few of the opportunities for family fun offered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources this weekend.

The fun starts Thursday with a film exploration of the life of Frida Kahlo at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem. Alamance Battleground in Burlington will also host a commemoration of the Battle of Alamance, while Tryon Palace in New Bern presents a lecture on African-American cooks. In Beaufort, the N.C. Maritime Museum will continue its popular Talkin’ Art and Brown Bag Gams series.

Friday, the fun continues with behind-the-scenes tours of the kitchen gardens at Tryon Palace during the day, and a concert by Los Lobos and a preview of the annual auction at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh in the evening.

Saturday morning, the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh will offer tours of its History of Harvest exhibit, while the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will host a workshop on using maritime navigation and communications equipment. Later in the day, the museum will host a meeting of the Carolina Maritime Model Society.

Throughout the day Saturday, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) will host its spring community day, complete with art making activities for kids. The N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer will present an antique truck show and its first-ever spring event for Boy Scouts. In Pineville, the James K. Polk Historic Site will demonstrate military drills and practices, camp life and musket firing as part of a Mexican-American War living history event, while all three of our Durham historic sites—Bennett Place, Duke Homestead and Historic Stagville will host a scavenger hunt that encourages your family to explore history across the city.

On the coast, Historic Bath will participate in Bath Fest by giving free tours and hosting its annual croquet tournament, while the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will offer hands-on activities and games as part of the city-wide N.C. Potato Festival.

The weekend rounds out Sunday with a celebration of the history and heritage of Northampton County at the Museum of Albemarle.

Throughout the weekend, the N.C. Symphony will play Stravinsky’s famed work “The Rite of Spring” in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and Alamance Battleground will stage a living history event complete with military and domestic re-enactors. This weekend is also your first chance to see the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and Watergate exhibits at the N.C. Museum of History.

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It’s another very busy weekend across North Carolina, with many opportunities to explore the arts and history of the Tar Heel state.

Kick off your weekend early with a Friday morning hike on the famed Shackleford Banks, hosted by the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. In the evening, head to the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem for the unveiling of a 50-year retrospective of the work of Anne Kesler Shields, a local visual artist.

All day Saturday, the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will offer visitors a chance to build their own boat over the course of seven hours, while the Maritime Museum in Southport will host a series of lectures on Outer Banks history. The Beaufort museum will also be offering a hike of Rachel Carson Reserve in the morning.

Build your own boat Saturday at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

Farther inland, the CSS Neuse/Gov. Richard Caswell Memorial in Kinston will have re-enactors on hand portraying soldiers across history from the American Revolution to Korean War, while the Daughters of American Revolution will celebrate the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution at Alamance Battleground in Burlington.

The weekend winds down Sunday afternoon with intimate, behind-the-scenes tours of exhibitions at SECCA complete with tea and desserts, an ice cream social at the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort and two chamber music concerts, one at Tryon Palace in New Bern and another at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City.  SECCA’s paperless exhibition also closes Sunday.

Throughout the weekend, Paperhand Puppet Intervention will present its “City of Frogs” show at the N.C. Museum of Art, while SparkCon—sponsored in part by the N.C. Arts Council—will celebrate the Triangle as a creative hub of the South.

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The Web site for North Carolina Historic Sites  “invites you to open doors into the past.”  But near the Moore County town of Carthage at the House in the Horseshoe, you don’t even have to open the doors to be transported back to the reality of the Revolutionary War in North Carolina.  The house still has some mighty large bullet holes in it—especially visible around the back door.

back door

Bullet holes are visible around the back door at the House in the Horseshoe.

On July 29, 1781, the house’s owner Phillip Alston and a small band of patriot militia were besieged there by Tories (forces loyal to the king) under the command of David Fanning.  The attack occurred in the early morning hours and, trapped in his house, Alston ordered his men to barricade the doors and windows.  Fanning posted his men along a split rail fence outside the home and, for several hours, the men exchanged fire with no side gaining a real advantage.

As her house was being riddled by bullets, Temperance Alston, Phillip’s wife, was level-headed enough to hide her children in the chimney, standing them on a table so that their bodies were behind the brickwork.  Just as Fanning was considering retreating, his men found a small wagon in Alston’s barn and he ordered it loaded with hay and set afire with the purpose of pushing it into the house.  In an effort to save the lives of everyone in the inside, Temperance cautiously stepped out and negotiated a surrender.

2011

A scene from one of the reenactments at the House in the Horseshoe in 2011.

This year is the 33rd annual commemoration of the skirmish at the House in the Horseshoe, with a full scale reenactment each day: Saturday Aug. 4 at 4 p.m., and Sunday Aug. 5, at 2 p.m.  There will be also cannon demonstrations, presentations of period crafts and trades, colonial games, and traders selling 18th century replica wares.

This is a fantastic opportunity to be up close to the action—but not so close that you have to put your kids in the chimney!

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