Museum of the Albemarle: Make days at historic spots a part of your summer vacation

By Bill McCrea

The Daily Advance

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It seemed like the winter would never end. Spring did arrive and we are running full speed into summer. This is the perfect time to think about how the Museum of the Albemarle can be part of your summer plans.

When I was a kid and complained to my mother during the summer that I was bored, her response was always the same — “Read a book!”

We made many trips to the town library. As a history buff, I wish my home town had a museum that offered the diversity of programs found at the Museum of the Albemarle.

If you are a parent, you need to pick up a copy of Program Calendar from the museum. From an archaeology day to movies for kids to fee-based camps, there is something for all age groups.

Don’t want to be tied to a particular program? Why not pack a lunch to eat on the green in front of the museum or at Waterfront Park followed by a visit to one of the museum’s exhibits and to the cool air conditioning inside?

Got a teenager with an interest in history? Perhaps the Junior Docent program is right.

The museum’s Junior Docents help us in ways beyond giving tours. They assist with public programs, hands-on activities, and this past weekend sold drinks at our family day to raise funds for Red Cross tornado relief.

Just because you have an empty nest doesn’t mean you’re left out. If you have been regular visitor to our exhibits, the History for Lunch program offers a midday break to explore a new facet of the Albemarle’s history.

And this year, a program has been added called Back to the Past, with a 21st Century Twist. Both of these programs are also perfect for entertaining out of town guests.

Two years ago, my wife and I realized an extended vacation was not going to be possible so we quickly adopted the “staycation” plan. North Carolina has so much to offer that we often miss what is right in our backyard.

Taking a few random days off broke up the summer and felt like multiple vacations. It’s amazing what you can pack into a day excursion and how easy the planning can be.

While I love to plan long trips, the process can be exhausting. I encourage you to think about the benefits of “staycations” - relaxing, economical, and a renewed appreciation for what you have nearby.

Maybe your perfect “staycation” is a trip to the museum, shopping at the gift shop, lunch downtown, and a walk along the waterfront to meet out-of-towners docked at the marina. Or a longer trip may fit the bill.

Museums and historic sites are one big family so I encourage you to visit (or revisit) Historic Edenton, the Newbold-White House, Hope Plantation, Somerset Place, or Historic Murfreesboro.

So when the humidity goes up, and the winter storms are a distant memory, think Museum of the Albemarle and the cultural history of northeastern North Carolina.

Bill McCrea is the director of regional museums for North Carolina Museum of History.