Starring North Carolina!

November 15, 2014, through September 7, 2015

Starring North Carolina! is the first major exhibit about the state’s role in the film industry. The N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh presents this blockbuster exhibit celebrating North Carolina’s films, television shows, cast members and production crews. The museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Through Sept. 7, 2015, see costumes and props from movies and television shows: Bull DurhamLast of the MohicansTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesDawson’s CreekSleepy Hollow and dozens more. Learn how the Tar Heel State became one of the nation’s top film and television production locations and home to the largest film studio outside of California ─ EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington. 

Starring North Carolina! tells a fascinating story that spans 100 years,” says Camille Hunt, Exhibit Team Leader. “Some 3,000 films and television programs have been made here, beginning in the early 1900s with silent movies that were shot in western North Carolina.”

The interactive exhibit showcases hundreds of film-related items from the 1900s to the present. Among them are 13 artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History ─ the first time the National Museum of American History has loaned objects to the Museum of History. 

North Carolina’s movie scene changed dramatically in the 1980s, when producer  Dino De Laurentiis arrived to film Firestarter, based on a Stephen King novel. He liked the area so much that he decided to build a studio in Wilmington, thus launching the path to “Hollywood East.”

Since then, hundreds of major motion pictures, independent films, made-for-TV movies, television shows, and documentaries have been filmed across the state. North Carolina is home to thousands of professional crew members that make these films happen, and many actors have strong ties to the state

In Starring North Carolina!, visitors will see not only costumes and props, but original scripts, movie clips, images, memorabilia and more that bring the state’s story to life.

This sampling of items with ties to North Carolina films provides a glimpse of what the 8,000-square-foot exhibit offers. 

  • The coonskin cap worn by actor Fess Parker, who portrayed Davy Crockett in the 1955 movie Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier, portions of which were filmed in western North Carolina. The cap is on loan from the National Museum of American History.   
  • The velvet robe and severed ear (a prop) from the 1986 cult classic Blue Velvet, filmed mainly in Wilmington.
  • The costume worn by Daniel Day-Lewis, who starred as Hawkeye in the 1992 movie Last of the Mohicans, filmed in western North Carolina.
  • The bomber jacket worn by Kevin Costner, who portrayed “Crash” Davis in the 1988 movie Bull Durham, shot primarily in the Triangle area.
  • Leonardo’s mask from the 1990 movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, filmed mainly in Wilmington.
  • A letter jacket, cheerleading outfit, scripts and more from the 1998-2003 television series Dawson’s Creek, the first series to occupy multiple soundstages at EUE/Screen Gems Studios.
  • Ricky Bobby’s No. 26 Wonder Bread race car from the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, featuring scenes shot at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Rockingham Speedway.
  • A costume worn by Jennifer Lawrence, who portrayed “Katniss” in the 2012 movie The Hunger Games, filmed in western North Carolina.
  • Props from the 2013 movie Iron Man 3, shot at EUE/Screen Gems Studios and other North Carolina locations.
  • Costumes and props from the current television series Sleepy Hollow, filmed at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington and various locations across the state.

Visitors to Starring North Carolina! also can explore the history of early filmmaking and learn about the many ways North Carolinians have watched and continue to experience movies.  

“The Museum of History is proud to be able to produce this captivating exhibit on the history of the film industry in North Carolina, an industry that has been so important to our state,” notes Ken Howard, Museum Director.

Major sponsors of Starring North Carolina! are the News & Observer, the North Carolina Museum of History Associates, and the North Carolina News Network.