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Princeville mobile museum to be unveiled

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BY JOHN H. WALKER
Staff Writer

Thursday, August 22, 2019

In the time since Hurricane Michael brought floodwaters to Princeville, a relationship has grown between the community and the N.C. State University School of Design.

Now, on Saturday, that relationship is taking another step when a mobile museum designed to serve Princeville, built as part of N.C. State’s 11-week-long Design/Build program, will be unveiled at a 5 p.m. program at the Princeville Museum parking lot at 310 Mutual Blvd.

Music, food, entertainment and guest speakers allwill be part of the program, according to a Facebook post. Parking will be available at the Town Hall and Freedom Hill.

“We had been working with leaders there since Hurricane Matthew,” said David Hill, head of the School of Architecture at N.C. State. “We already had a relationship in that we were part of a team looking at ways to preserve and protect the town.”

Hill said that his department has a program each summer called Design/Build.

“It’s a hands-on effort where the students select a project and then plan, design and build it,” he said. “They actually take something from a thought to a finished project and can see what they’ve accomplished.”

Hill explained that this summer’s project was a mobile museum for the Town of Princeville.

Because of the existing relationship with the community, Hill said Kofi Boone, a professor of landscape architecture at N.C. State, had taken a group of middle school students on a field trip to the town.

“They stopped at the museum because the kids wanted to learn more about Princeville,” Hill said, “but it was still closed because of the damage from Matthew.”

Hill said the middle schoolers were disappointed that they could not learn more but even more disappointed because some of the history might have been lost.

It was then that the 2019 Design/Build more or less settled on what has turned out to be a mobile museum.

“The thought is that it can be taken on the road … around the state to malls and fairs and festivals so that people around North Carolina can learn about Princeville,” Hill said, “even people in Edgecombe County who might not know the story about Princeville.”

Princeville is the oldest town incorporated by African-Americans in the United States, having been founded by freed slaves in 1865. It has been flooded nine times since its founding.

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