Are We There Yet? exhibit on display at Museum of the Albemarle

Published 10:32 am Monday, April 29, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Museum of the Albemarle started the summer off with the opening of Are We There Yet, on April 19, 2024. This traveling paneled photography exhibit, on loan from the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, “looks back at an era when tourism boomed thanks largely to a state-run marketing effort called “Variety Vacationland.”

“During the Great Depression of the 1930s, politicians and business leaders began efforts to boost North Carolina’s economy by lobbying for a statewide campaign to showcase tourism attractions. This eventually led to a full-color tourist guide titled North Carolina, a Variety Vacationland first printed in 1937. It was soon followed by billboards, postcards, movies, television programs, and even a jingle!

“This was a difficult exhibit to pull together during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the exhibit’s curator, Katie Edwards, also curator of popular culture at the NC Museum of History. “I had to seek out photos of amazing vacation spots throughout the state – at a time when traveling and visiting locations was impossible.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

“While the exhibit showcases many of the popular sites promoted by the Variety Vacationland campaign, I also wanted to highlight where people of color were able to vacation during this era; while more sites existed, a few that I located – which the campaign failed to mention – are documented with several photos.”

Northeastern North Carolina highlights include Lake Mattamuskeet, the Lost Colony play, Fort Raleigh, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Elizabeth City Potato Festival, and the segregated beaches Chowan Beach, Bias Shores/Hargraves Beach, and Bogues Beach.

This exhibit, which will close in 2026, is free and open to the public.

The Museum of the Albemarle is located at 501 S. Water Street in Elizabeth City. For more information, call 252-335-1453 or go to Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays and state holidays. Serving Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties, the museum is the northeast regional history museum of the North Carolina Division of State History Museums.