We are proud to be a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve. Blue Star Museums are a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense. The museum will offer Blue Star promotions and specials, including discounted memberships and a 10% discount at the Museum Shop, for active and retired military personnel.
“It’s a great privilege to continue our legacy as a Blue Star Museum,” said Ken Howard, director of the North Carolina Museum of History. "Many service members—active and veteran, soldiers and nurses—feared that their service and sacrifice would be forgotten by future generations. But North Carolinians from across the state have come to see our military exhibits in record numbers, proving that we all want to remember and honor their sacrifices.”
“Visiting a museum is a great way to get to know a community—whether it’s in your hometown or a stop on a road trip,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “We appreciate the enthusiasm of museums across the country who open their doors for military and their families to spend time together and have new arts experiences.”
“As many military families spend the summer months moving from one duty station to another, or reconnecting with a parent who has returned from deployment, Blue Star Museums helps service members and their families create memories,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Blue Star Families has great appreciation for the generosity of the museums across the country who roll out the red carpet for the families who serve alongside their service members. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”
During Military Appreciation Month and beyond, the museum strives to offer a wide variety of exhibits, events and resources related to the military. Click here for a downloadable and printable PDF of our Exhibits and Events of Military Interest.
We have put together a compilation of all the museum's exhibits, events and resources below! (Please note: this list will continue to be updated.)
North Carolina and World War I
This award-winning exhibit commemorates the 100-year anniversary of US entry into the First World War. A recordbreaking 350,000+ visitors have seen the exhibit since its opening day in April 2017, experiencing a life-sized trench environment, interactive video, realistic battlefield sounds and sights, and stories of Tar Heel bravery. On view through January 6, 2019.
The Story of North Carolina
More than 14,000 years of the state’s history unfold through fascinating artifacts, multimedia presentations, dioramas, and hands-on interactive components. Additionally, two full-size historical houses and several re-created environments immerse museum visitors in places where North Carolinians have lived and worked. Including tough war years, The Story of North Carolina focuses on people—both well-known and everyday citizens—who shaped the Tar Heel State. Permanent exhibit.
Collecting Carolina: Montagnards, Vietnam’s Central Highlanders
Montagnard, a French word meaning “mountain people,” refers to the indigenous ethnic minority who came to live in the central highlands of Vietnam and became close allies of American soldiers during the Vietnam War. This lobby-case exhibit focuses on traditional Montagnard culture and features a selection of textiles, crafts, tools, hunting weapons, and musical instruments, all collected by a Vietnam veteran during his service there. On view through September 30, 2018.
A Call to Arms
This overview of North Carolina’s military heritage features items from such conflicts as the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Vietnam, and Iraq. Artifacts on display include fragments from a National Guard truck damaged in Iraq in 2004 and a POW bracelet from the Vietcong. Permanent exhibit.
David Marshall “Carbine” Williams
See the original workshop of David Marshall Williams, better known as Carbine. The self-taught gunsmith from North Carolina helped design the .30-caliber US M1 carbine, which became a favorite weapon of American forces in World War II, the Korean War, and the early years of Vietnam. The one-room workshop includes nearly 3,000 artifacts. Permanent exhibit; closed for renovations until mid-June 2018—call for reopening date.
A Thousand Words: Photographs by Vietnam Veterans
This collection of images, assembled by photographer Martin Tucker, was taken by North Carolina soldiers in Vietnam and explores the human element and experience of Vietnam. Commentary by the veterans on what each image means to them offers visitors the chance to see how the troops have chosen to remember their time in Southeast Asia. On view from July 27, 2018, through February 24, 2019.
World War I Film Series: A Bear Named Winnie (2005)
Sunday, May 20, 2 p.m.
This is the last film of our World War I Film Series. In 1914 a cavalry veterinarian en route to training camp for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Michael Fassbender) befriends a wild bear, then takes her overseas as his unit’s mascot. Winnie’s true story served as inspiration for British writer A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books. This is the last in a monthly series of films meant to help interpret some of the scope and complexity of the Great War. Free to attend. Register here.
Photography and WWI
Sunday, June 3, 2 p.m.
Journey back in time to learn how early personal cameras revolutionized the face of conflict during World War I. Free to attend.
Speaker: Stephen Fletcher, Photographic Archivist, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, University of North Carolina
Montagnard Artists Day
Saturday, June 9, 1–4 p.m.
North Carolina is home to the largest number of Montagnard people outside Southeast Asia. See the museum exhibit on Montagnards in the lobby case, and watch as craftspeople re-create baskets and woven fabrics like those featured there.
The afternoon will also highlight traditional Montagnard music and dance performances, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and, at 3 p.m., include a showing of This Is My Home Now (2015; not rated; run time: 27 min.), a documentary about young Montagnard people finding their way and making new lives in their adopted home of North Carolina. A panel discussion will accompany the film. Free to attend.
History à la Carte: Montagnard Journey
Wednesday, June 13, noon–1 p.m.
Alles will share the incredible history and culture of the Montagnard people and follow their journey from Southeast Asia to North Carolina. Allow time to visit our lobby-case exhibit, Collecting Carolina: Montagnards, Vietnam’s Central Highlanders. Free to attend. Register here.
Speaker: John Alles, Former Executive Director, Montagnards Assistance Project
All Naval Services Day
Saturday, June 16, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Help honor the service and sacrifice of North Carolinians who served in the US Navy, US Marines, and US Coast Guard during World War I.
Living history reenactors will be on site and both Carolina Museum of the Marine, from Jacksonville, and Battleship North Carolina will display relevant artifacts from their collections. A lecture and a WWI Service Card search station will round out the day. Free to attend.
Bits of History Podcast
From a look at early Spanish exploration of the mountains to an overview of the Revolutionary War to a deep dive through the Twentieth Century, our Bits of History podcasts cover a wide range of subjects related to the North Carolina's military history and culture.