The Coast Guard exhibit is about to be “Gone with the Wind.”
That is to say that Museum of the Albemarle staff has announced that Saturday will be the last day for folks to enjoy the Coast Guard exhibit “Out of the Blue,” because it’s making way for some serious Hollywood history.
Museum of the Albemarle will receive, from the Museum of History in Raleigh, “Real to Reel: The Making of Gone with the Wind.” That means the staff will close down the Coast Guard exhibit after Saturday to begin making way for the likes of “Gone with the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell’s typewriter, dresses worn by actresses in the film and the Best Actress Oscar awarded to Vivian Leigh who portrayed the Southern Belle archetype Scarlet O’Hara.
Museum curator Wanda Stiles says the Coast Guard exhibit was scheduled to be dismantled at the start of 2014 to make way for two smaller galleries. However, this collection of “Gone with the Wind” memorabilia on loan from James Tumblin, the former head of make up and hair at Universal Studio, was being made available to MOA.
“‘Gone with the Wind’ came up and we had a short time to get it,” says Stiles.
She says the exhibit now on display in Raleigh is large and includes so many artifacts that not all of it will fit into MOA’s spacious gallery. There are a total 120 items in the exhibit.
Stiles says because the exhibit comes
from the Museum of History in Raleigh, the displays and labels are prepared for them, but MOA’s exhibit design staff will have the freedom to install the space as the see fit.
“Gone with the Wind” will open with a gala event on May 31. The following day, June 1, the exhibit will be open to the public and will run to Dec. 15.
In addition to the exhibit, Stiles says the museum will have a number of screenings of “Gone with the Wind,” starring Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, Maureen O’Hare and Leslie Howard, in the Gaither Auditorium.
After the exhibit closes, the staff at MOA will reinstall the Coast Guard exhibit and leave it on display until the end of 2014.
Stiles says the Coast Guard exhibit like all exhibits was not meant to be permanent.
“Nothing is really a permanent exhibit,” she explains. “Everything is rotating. Even ‘Our Story’ is up for 10 years at the most.”
The Coast Guard exhibit, however, is popular and that’s why the museum will reinstall it after “Gone with the Wind.”
“People like it and you can’t see that exhibit anywhere on the Coast Guard, so we’re the first to have it.”
The Coast Guard exhibit opened in October 2009. It was originally meant to last five years and has been a popular draw for both Coast Guard families and civilians.
The exhibit features the history of the Coast Guard in the region, highlighting the bravery of the surfmen of the Outer Banks to present day search and rescue swimmers.
The design team at MOA worked on the exhibit for a solid year before it opened. They worked closely with the Coast Guard to ensure that the exhibits and artifacts accurately represent the service’s mission.
The theme of the exhibit is aviation and the Coast Guard’s role in aviation history. Elizabeth City is one of the first places in the history of the modern Coast Guard to use aviation. The Pasquotank River was ideal of seaplanes and this area became a seaplane hub well before search and rescue teams were dropping from helicopters.
As visitors walk clockwise through the exhibit they are able to see a timeline of both fixed-wing and rotary wing aviation in the Coast Guard. The fixed-wing exhibit explores the history up to 1975. The rotary wing covers the history from 1975 to 1994.
There’s much more included in the exhibit and unless you want to wait until 2014 for an encore presentation of this popular exhibit, you’ll have to check it between now and Saturday.
For more information about the Coast Guard exhibit “Out of the Blue, or the upcoming “Gone with the Wind” exhibit, contact the Museum of the Albemarle at 252-335-1453.