DURHAM, N.C. – The Durham community will soon boast its own brick-and-mortar museum dedicated to the history of Durham, thanks in part to a recent grant from the City of Durham.
The Durham City Council, based on a recommendation from the Durham Cultural Advisory Board, has awarded a $47,145 grant to the Museum of Durham History for capital improvements to its History Hub and for the installation of an area combining a map of local heritage sites and an interactive, touch-screen display.
According to Renee Leverty, chair of the Durham Cultural Advisory Board, the recommendation was based on the need for the community to have a special place to celebrate Durham’s history. "The History Hub is a great match for this community,” Leverty said. “Durham is rich with history, diversity, and cultural heritage. The Hub will give the residents as well as visitors a place to learn, celebrate, and preserve that history."
The History Hub is located in the former bus transfer station at 500 W. Main St. in downtown Durham. Museum officials and the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development staff have identified several projects that will use these grant funds, including:
• Refurbishment of the gazebo’s roof and shingles and electrical installation to build a small stage and a seating platform
• Installation of outdoor signs to direct people to and from the Durham History Hub
• Installation of a hose bib so that plants can be watered as part of a landscaping project
• Installation of a large, mounted map that will help raise awareness and build traffic for other Durham heritage sites, an important part of the Hub’s mission. The map will be a permanent installation and a colorful focal point for the museum. It will also be flexible enough to accommodate timely events and special activities at the heritage sites noted. In addition to graphics depicting permanent sites, such as the Hayti Heritage Center and Durham’s state historic sites, the map will have up to 15 call-out magnets that can be used for special events such as CenterFest, the Bull City Blues Festival, or the West Point on the Eno July 4th celebration
• A large, interactive touch screen that will make historical discovery easy and accessible for visitors. A menu will allow users to choose among History Beneath Our Feet, the Museum’s unique gazetteer that introduces the men and women who lent their names to Durham’s streets; the new Durham Digital Timeline, an online chronology of the major events and people who helped shape Durham’s past; and valuable websites such as Open Durham, a highly interlinked archive/inventory of information on historical people and places in Durham. Placed just below the Durham map, this feature will be a permanent fixture that will provide visitors to the History Hub with an overview of Durham’s past and a starting point for exploring the rest of the museum
The History Hub is creating, not only a resource for those interested in Durham, but also an opportunity for locals to create a living history by recording their personal stories and recollections of Durham. This City grant will help the museum reach its financial goals, however museum officials are continuing to use other fundraising activities, such as their current online efforts at http://www.indiegogo.com/SharingDurhamsStories.
As part of the museum’s continued efforts to invite the Durham community into the process of creating a history museum, the museum will be holding the second in a series of Pop-Up Museum events at the History Hub on Thursday, December 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event is curated and created by students from Duke University and North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Duke students, led by Dr. Joshua Clark Davis, and NCCU graduate students taking Museum Interpretation with Dr. Rhonda Jones, will be creating mini-exhibits exploring topics from Durham’s past.
About the Museum of Durham History
The Museum of Durham History’s vision is to be the starting point for exploring the rich history of Durham's diverse and creative community. After several years as an online entity, they will open the doors of its first physical site in 2013. The new History Hub, located in the former bus transfer station at 500 W. Main St., will allow expansion of the Museum's services and add to the vitality of downtown Durham. The History Hub is a work-in-progress that opens for special programs and events, while the Museum prepares to install interactive exhibits and hold regular operating hours in mid-2013. For more information, visit http://www.MuseumofDurhamHistory.org, “like” on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MuseumofDurhamHistory, or “follow” on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/@DurhamHistory.
About the Office of Economic & Workforce Development
Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the Office of Economic & Workforce Development helps ensure that Durham has a strong and diverse economy by increasing the city’s tax base through several revitalization initiatives, including new development efforts in the central city area. The department also plans and promotes cultural awareness and events, identifies and recruits target industries as well as assesses and trains Durham residents to fill new jobs. For more information, visit http://www.DurhamEconomicDevelopment.org, “like” on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DurhamOEWD, or “follow” on http://Twitter.com/DurhamOEWD.