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Award-winning exhibit features East Arcadia

Staff report

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BURGAW — The launch of an exhibit, “Flashback: Community Life through the Lens of Mack Munn 1940-1960,” will open on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 11:30 a.m. at the Pender County Public Library in Burgaw.


The exhibit, developed by the UNCW’s Public History Program in conjunction with the Lower Bladen-Columbus Historical Society, is built around a collection of photographs taken 50 to 70 years ago by Mack Munn of East Arcadia in Bladen County.


The 30-40 minute program will feature Tammy Gordon of UNCW, Earnestine Keaton of the historical society, and others talking about Mack Munn’s photographs capturing a mid-20th century time in his rural and southern African-American community. Visitors can tour the exhibit which includes oral history recordings as well as photographs. Heavy refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Library.


The exhibit was researched and developed by graduate students enrolled in the Public History Program of UNCW and won a national award. The exhibit is described by Dr. Gordon as a “unique perspective of rural southeast North Carolina history” and “a rare historical record of a rural African American community.”


For their efforts, exhibit creators, Erica Hague, Jennifer Scott and their colleagues received the National Council on Public History Student Project Award, which is granted annually to students who complete an outstanding public history project recognized beyond the classroom for its contribution to the field of public history.


Visitors can listen to oral histories while sitting in a ladder back chair or photograph themselves at the train station just like the historical photos in the exhibit.


“Capturing the voices and stories of these residents adds such a rich component to the exhibit,” Scott said. “Not only can we see the images of them working, praying, singing, farming and more, but we can hear in their own words what it felt like and what it meant to them.”


In addition, the students created lesson plans for an eighth grade curriculum and developed a digital field trip DVD.


For more information please call 259-1234 or visit the library website.

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