Museum of the Albemarle

Outlander exhibit a treat for Gabalodon fans

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Artifacts of Outlander to be viewed at upcoming MOA exhibit.

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Rebecca Stiles
MOA columnist

Sunday, October 7, 2018

“Do you think anyone would be interested in an Outlander-themed exhibit?” How do I begin to answer this question? It’s not one I ever expected to be asked while working for the museum, but I didn’t hesitate with my answer, which was an overwhelming “Yes!”

And so, at the beginning of 2019, the Museum of the Albemarle will host a traveling exhibit, Artifacts of Outlander, that showcases a variety of real 18th-century artifacts that compare to the world featured in the Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon and the television series that airs on the Starz network.

Artifacts of Outlander was produced by Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, home to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory. Staff members there, who are big fans of the Outlander series, were inspired to feature some of their own artifacts, of the colonial period in Maryland, so that people could compare them to props used in the 18th-century Scotland depicted in the novels and television show.

The world of Outlander revolves around the story of a 20th-century World War II nurse, Claire Randall, who mysteriously travels back in time to 18-century Scotland, where she meets and falls in love with a Highland warrior named Jamie Fraser. As the story evolves, Jamie and Claire must leave Scotland behind, and they eventually find themselves in the American colony of Georgia. From there, they settle down and build a home, Fraser’s Ridge, in what is today Alamance County, near Boone.

The story also mentions Wilmington, Edenton, and New Bern and many historical figures, including Governor William Tryon, Charles Stuart, and Benedict Arnold, to name a few. Those connections are fun for me because I like telling friends I live near Edenton and Alamance County.

Eight novels have been published, and a ninth is in the works, all written by Arizona native Diana Gabaldon. She has stated a tenth novel that will complete the series, which is being impressively adapted into the Starz television show.

To say that these novels are dense is an understatement. It takes time and dedication not only to read Gabaldon’s work but also to follow the story she’s telling. Each book is roughly 1,000 pages of historical fiction that paints a vivid picture of 18th-century Scotland and the Highlands. The farther you read, the more familiar her surroundings and characters become. Her work shows a breadth of historical knowledge and information that I didn’t know until I started reading it. To any future readers, I toast your good health: Sláinte! And I hope you enjoy the exhibit. Being a fan myself, I’m very excited to see everything this exhibit has to offer.

Rebecca Stiles is an Administrative Assistant at Museum of the Albemarle.