The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex will be hosting Pastimes and Professions of the 19th Century on April 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at Arsenal Park, next to the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex.
The festivities will include music from the Huckleberry Brothers, tintype photographs from fine art photographer Harry Taylor and a "medicine show" from Shades of Our Past, a living history group based in Williamsburg, Virginia.
"Medicine shows were entertainment acts that toured the country touting 'miracle cures' and other products," said Megan Maxwell, 1897 Poe House education and events coordinator. "These 'snake oil' medicines were promoted by a 'doctor' who engaged the audience with jokes, stories and various entertainers to sell his cures. It is definitely a comedic performance meant to entertain and engage people."
Shades of Our Past will be performing at 11 a.m., and at 2 p.m. Bill Rose will be playing the role of the traveling salesman for the event.
In addition to a live show, Harry Taylor, a North Carolina photographer, will be producing tintype photographs for visitors. Tintypes are positive images created on a piece of tin inside the camera and then developed in Taylor's mobile darkroom. A 4x5 photograph will cost $50, an 8x10 is $100.
The Huckleberry Brothers, a group formed in 2002, performs at historical events throughout North Carolina and will be entertaining visitors throughout the day. The band plays several historical instruments, including bones, harmonicas, accordions, mandolins and a five-string banjo.
"They may even teach you a traditional square dance," Maxwell said.
The planning for the event has taken on several different iterations. Initially planned for 2020, the event was shifted to 2021 due to COVID-19. It was once again rescheduled, this time to the spring of 2022.
"It was a challenge to find new and creative interpreters who were available in April due to the fact that there are so many other Civil War events in North Carolina that month," Maxwell said. "We wanted to do a Civil War-era event that focused more on civilian life during that time period, rather than a traditional military living history event."
Women on the homefront will be a focus at the Pastimes and Professions of the 19th Century event. The museum will demonstrate everyday tasks and pleasures of the average home in the Cape Fear region during and after the Civil War.
In addition, Nicholle Young, Fayetteville State University Archives and Special Collections technician will be creating a display detailing the Howard School and black churches of the 19th century.
"Religion and church life were an instrumental part of supporting communities and encouraging activism during this time period," Maxwell said. "The creation of the Howard School following the Civil War highlights African-American professionals who were teachers, politicians and community activists, such as Dr. E.E. Smith."
The Culbreth House, part of the VanStory History Village in the N.C. Civil War and Reconstruction History Center, also in Arsenal Park, will be open for visitors to tour. Visitors can learn more about the History Center's mission and current projects, according to Maxwell. The History Village features two other homes, the Arsenal House and the Davis House.
The Davis House will also be open to visitors.
Food will be available for event-goers. Scotty's All American Food Truck will be present, as well as Cool Beans Coffee and Ice Cream.
The event starts at 10 a.m. on April 9 and is free to the public. For more information, visit https://museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov/events/pastimes-and-professions-19th-century.