Miss Hoggy is a museum buff. In any city she goes to, museum has to be on the itinerary. In her opinion, it’s the best way to learn the story of a city, especially when time isn’t quite your best friend. So on my tour around Raleigh, the leafy city of oak with old southern houses with their pillars and decorative window shutters, I was given a platter of museums. Oh of course, along with a platter of yummy Southern food.
Raleigh, named after Sir Walter Raleigh, the man known to popularise tobacco in England, surprises me with the reputation as the “Smithsonian of the South.” It was later that I found out that there are about 40 museums in Greater Raleigh, and about all of them are free. Ooh, my Asian bones tickle at the word ‘free’, in a good way. I think NC has caught Miss Hoggy off guard, once again.
First stop: NC Museum of History.
The very place to see the Wright Brother’s first plane replica from their first flight in Kitty Hawk, if you’re into your aviation history. But that’s not the main feature of this museum. The main feature here is to depict the life of the people here, from colonisation and multi-faceted relationship with the local Natives, to slavery and its abolition as well as its disguise in segregation and finally, to the history of tobacco and its marketing.
It was fascinating to learn the history of the South, however, I still have a few misgivings about some of their exhibits. For example, how Native Americans are still portrayed with the name Indians and forgive me here as I could be wrong, tobacco glorification. I understand that tobacco is the driving force behind the economy resurrection of this State, but there’s no really good reason to glorify it as it is one of the main causes of death in the modern era. It just almost felt like you’re showing off the fact that you made a profit out of sacrificing life of others, which obviously wasn’t the intention. It just gave me that sort of a vibe, that’s all.
Second stop: NC Museum of Natural Sciences.
If you like fossils, animals, earthquakes, skeletons, this should in your NC itinerary. With its many exhibit of the wildlife of this State, you would be making lots of ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ after seeing either the massive whale skeletons on display or some impressive jaw bones of a big shark. Wish I had some pics to show you, but don’t worry, you can check it all out at the museum’s blog.
Third stop: NC Museum of Art
And this was my favourite. Not only does it have pretty cool photography section with artists from all cultural background, but it has a park with outdoor exhibits too. And there’s a major section in the museum feature young artist and they were actually really good. What an eclectic mix of collection, including a very quirky whirligig in the outdoor exhibits.
If you’re not an art person, don’t worry. The landscape in the park is very relaxing and it’s good place to have a run at and chill.
Woah, from history to sciences and to art, that’s a lot of work in an afternoon, Raleigh. And all that learning knowledge absorption needs energy and now I’m hungry. So off to Beasley’s Chicken + Honey in Downtown.
And as you all have gathered from my post on biscuits and chicken and waffles, it was another session of learning and knowledge absorption. Yes, Southern food is quite an education. My poor brain.
And that marks the conclusion of my brief USA leg. Next week, it would all be about Buyeo, South Korea, my town for the next 12 months.
Another country, another Miss Hoggy’s adventure.