Thursday, August 1, 2013 — RALEIGH -- Tremendous local support and appreciation for the economic and cultural value of state historic sites and museums have led to continued funding for all of the historic sites and museums in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The legislature did not recommend closing any of the venues, including support for Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace, House in the Horseshoe, President James K. Polk State Historic Site, Aycock Birthplace and Mountain Gateway Museum.
"I am thrilled that these sites and museum will be able to remain open. I am very grateful to the Governor and the legislators who understood the importance of these locations to our State and to the tremendous support shown by the local communities in voicing their concerns," said Secretary Susan Kluttz, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.
"When Governor McCrory appointed me last December, he made it clear that he wanted our cultural resources to help provide our children with education of our state's history. We are thrilled that we all collectively found a way to keep these sites open. These destinations are excellent examples of how history can inspire a child to learn more about how children lived and played during an earlier time and to dream about becoming governor or even president."
Cultural Resources provides the foundation for heritage tourism in N.C., an important segment of the tourism industry attracting visitors nearby and from around the world.
"Since our funding was reduced, I hope that the sites' communities will strengthen their partnerships with us in providing volunteers and resources so that we can continue our quality programs," Kluttz added.
Each of the Department's sites and museums benefit from the work of local support groups who provide volunteers and funding that expands offerings.
The House of the Horseshoe near Sanford, Aycock Birthplace in Fremont, Vance Birthplace in Weaverville, President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville and the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort had been considered for closing. These attractions are particularly important to the areas they serve, as are many historic sites. The Department's sites and museums provide anchor institutions about which local communities often tie their locally supported attractions and events.
Visitation at N.C. State Historic Sites overall is up almost 22 percent this year, and is up 2 percent overall at State History Museums. Visitation for Cultural Resources overall is up 4 percent. All across the department, informative and entertaining programming that promotes authentic North Carolina history and culture provide great and typically free family recreation. All venues are participating in the department's 2nd Saturdays program, which are free programs or have no additional cost at fee-based sites.