Watergate exhibit at N.C. Museum of History

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2014

If you know anyone who wants to know more about Watergate, you should tell them to go to the exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

Located at 5 East Edenton St., its hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday, it is open from noon to 5 p.m.

The museum is part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and the Smithsonian Affiliations Membership Program. Right now, “Leadership in History” is going on with the exhibit “Watergate: Political Scandal and the Presidency.”

The exhibit is going from May 17 to Aug. 10, and it follows the work of North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin who investigated the Nixon White House, leading to Nixon's resignation Aug. 9, 1974. On Monday, Rufus Edmisten said he is trying to get the exhibit moved to Morganton.

He has been giving tours of the exhibit which features him and Ervin. The Boone native and Raleigh lawyer is also trying to raise money for the Morganton program. Edmisten worked with Ervin on Watergate, and he is a former North Carolina attorney general.

It was in 1973 as the hot, summer months moved on, and you watched TV nonstop when five men were arrested with bugging equipment.

RaeLana Poteat, curator of Political and Social History, said, “Artifacts, photographs, video clips and a 1970 living room setting will intrigue both younger visitors and those who recall this transformative time in our nation's history.”

The “Story of North Carolina” is a view of the state through the 20th century.

There are more than 14,000 years of history with artifacts, slides and the story of the people.

“This engaging, interactive exhibit encourages visitors of all ages to see, hear and exhibit experience the state's history,” said Ken Howard, museum director. “We believe that visitors come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the people and events in North Carolina.”

There is the Native American life, European settlement, piracy, the American Revolution, early 1800s and farm life. There is the Antebellum era, the Civil War, the rise of industry, the two World Wars, the Great Depression and the Civil Rights movement.

Also kids and adults get to see stone tools from 12,000 to 1000 BCE that were used by early inhabitants.

Also one can see a cannon, a pewter plate, gold flakes and other items found from a shipwreck of Blackbeard's flagship Queen Anne's Revenge. The ship was found at Beaufort Inlet in 1996.

The state's fourth-oldest house is here, restored and built in Pitt County in 1742 by Solomon Robson. There is a restored slave cabin from Martin County. There were seven enslaved African-Americans who lived in this one-room house in 1860.

There is a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. There is a lunch counter used in a 1960 sit-in in Salisbury during the Civil Rights movement.

The section on Watergate features Sen. Sam Ervin and Rufus Edmisten as they find out the truth with the president.

Sponsors of the exhibit include the Josephus Daniels Charitable Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation, the SECU Foundation, Glaxo Smith Kline, Bank of American, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Reynolds American Foundation, Senator and Mrs. James T. Broyhill, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth B. Howard, Mr. and Mrs. S. Davis Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. W. Trent Ragland Jr., Wachovia, A Wells Fargo Company, Duke Energy and others.

There is a photo of Edmisten delivering the subpoenas served to Nixon's lawyer on July 23, 1973 to get recordings of Nixon's White House conversations. He was deputy chief counsel to the Senate Select committee.

Edmisten said, “This exhibit is by far one of the most comprehensive collections of Watergate history and memorabilia, both funny and sad, that I've seen.”

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