Kim Baumbaugh: Do what you can for our museum’s future

By Kim Baumbaugh

The Daily Advance

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I am convinced that every old house in North Carolina has a ghost–I think it must be a state law.

Soon after my husband and I moved into our 1891 house in Elizabeth City and began renovations, we started noticing “things” that made us think we weren’t its only residents. I eventually mentioned this to a few of my new friends here.

I fully expected to either get laughed at or thought crazy. Instead, one of my friends responded, “That’s nice, what does your ghost do? Mine slams the door in one of the back bedrooms most evenings.”

The others then regaled me with stories of their experiences in their older homes. Apparently, having a ghost in an old house is expected here.

It took a while for my transplanted California self to figure this out, but then the answer came and was quite simple: North Carolinians truly love their homes and their history; so much so, that their very “spirits” seem imprinted wherever they lived.

You can feel the history here just by looking around the region. Every time I stand on my front porch and look across the street at the Pasquotank River, I picture its history in my mind–the ferries that took the Wright Brothers to the Outer Banks; the Mosquito Fleet; the boats that traveled it as part of the official Underground Railroad Network.

I have always loved history and how it interconnects with our present and future. While I may not have started out here, I do feel that connection here the longer I live in the region.

That feeling inspired me to join the Friends of the Museum of the Albemarle, and I am now FOMOA’s current president. The value of the Museum of the Albemarle is its ability to provide us with a focal point to connect with all our pasts and show us the richness of what our region has to offer. And it is ours; local people created it over 45 years ago and though now a part of the state history museum system, it still receives its primary support from locals.

State budget cuts have limited funding to building overhead expenses and staff salaries. Everything else – exhibits, displays, programs – are paid for locally, through the Friends of the Museum of the Albemarle via fund-raising and soliciting sponsors. Yet against all odds, MOA is performing well and has one of the highest visitation rates in the state museum system.

This is all possible because we locals (yes, myself included) already recognize the value of MOA and the necessity of keeping those connections to our history alive by supporting MOA.

So, visit MOA, join FOMOA, do whatever you can do for our museum. Let us continue to keep alive all the voices of our regional ghosts, for our present and our future.

Kim Baumbaugh is the president Friends of the Museum of the Albemarle