College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)
Michael A. Davis
North Carolina, New South, Natural History Museums, Southern Agriculture, Raleigh, North Carolina History
Stroud, Robert Alexander, "The Tarheel Victorian: H.H. Brimley and the North Carolina State Museum in Raleigh (1880-1946)" (2021). Masters Theses. 790.
Following North Carolina's experience during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, the museum was born out of a desire to bring greater economic investment into the North Carolina economy. Its first director H.H. Brimley (1861-1946) transformed the museum into a thriving institution that attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors annually by the 1940s. The museum helped Raleigh's transformation from a backwater of the Old South into a thriving metropolis of Post-Reconstruction by kick-starting a wave of tourism and popular education with its exhibits on state history and science. This thesis argues that this museum played a critical role not only in the history of the state but in the greater changes occurring in the American South as a whole following Reconstruction.