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Behind the Veneer:  Thomas Day, Master Craftsman

For Sale, offered the 19th-century advertisement: “an assortment of Fine and Fashionable Furniture. . . executed in the most faithful manner.” Explore how Thomas Day, a free person of color operating the most successful cabinet shop in North Carolina at the time, navigated the complex antebellum social order.

Learn why Day’s thoughtfully planned furniture was so special and how his idiosyncratic designs—in furniture and interior woodwork—reflected both his personal aesthetic and that of his clients. Day was his own “tastemaker,” not limited by catalogs and pattern books. He crafted his life and business as carefully as he shaped his refined furniture. Today we recognize Thomas Day as the founder of North Carolina’s furniture industry. What would he think about that?

Contact: Michael Ausbon (

A Change Is Gonna Come: Black, Indian and White Voices For Racial Equality

This presentation highlights the experiences of African Americans, American Indians, and whites in the struggle for equal rights for oppressed citizens in the state of North Carolina, focusing on the years from the 1830s to the 1980s. Because of these courageous citizens’ efforts, all groups today can claim certain civil liberties and inalienable rights. An online exhibit ( accompanies this program. With advance arrangement, objects can be showcased, as well.

Contact: Earl Ijames (

Freedom Coming, Freedom for All

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed the scourge of slavery, but securing freedom for all was more of a process than a single act or proclamation. This program highlights North Carolina’s unique role in that process, sharing stories of both famous and unsung participants in the struggle. Panels from a companion traveling exhibition may be made available with prior arrangements.

Contact: Earl Ijames (