The Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville and the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex in Haymount are doing business again. Both museums had been closed since March because of COVID-19 restrictions. The ASOM is now open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Weekend hours will be phased in gradually. Museum of the Cape Fear hours of operation have also changed temporarily. The new hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Attendance is limited at both facilities. Visitors are expected to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from one another. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the buildings. Anyone experiencing symptoms of illness or who have recently been in contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19 are asked to postpone their visits.
No tours of the 1897 Poe House are being provided for at least 30 days after reopening.
At the ASOM, water fountains are off, but visitors may bring clear containers of water. Food is not permitted. Reservations can be made online. Upon arrival, visitors should scan the QR code at the museum entrance to complete guest registration. The gift shop is limited to five visitors at a time. Only debit and credit cards will be accepted for payment. Donations to support museum operations can be made online or during checkout in the gift shop.
Some areas of the Museum of the Cape Fear remain closed to the public. They include the steamboat exhibit, the Civil War soldier teaching corner and the general store. Visitors will be able to view these areas but not enter them. Residents can keep up to date by visiting the museum’s website at www.museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov. The facility is located at the corner of Bradford and Arsenal Avenues and is operated by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
In 2007, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation received a planning grant from the North Carolina General Assembly to perform a benchmarking and assessment study to determine whether a new museum should focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction period in North Carolina. Because of the existing museum’s location on one of North Carolina’s most important Civil War sites, consultants recommended that a new facility replace the existing regional museum with a major statewide history center. Much of the planning has already been done.
According to the history center’s website, planners concluded that the entire state’s story is the most compelling one. A feasibility study validated this finding, demonstrating that the completed project will attract wider attention and stronger support by reaching beyond Fayetteville to tell the larger story. The result is an $80 million project involving a phased, multi-year approach to both fundraising and the history center’s overall development.
The site will include a 60,000-square-foot visitor center built just outside the Fayetteville Arsenal’s archaeological footprint, protecting the remnants of the asset seized by Confederate forces in 1861 and leveled by William T. Sherman army four years later. The existing 1896 E. A. Poe House and three Civil War-era structures will comprise “History Village” and are incorporated into the larger, interpretive plan.
Picture left: ASOM is now open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Weekend hours will be phased in gradually.
Picture right: Museum of the Cape Fear is set to reopen. The new hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.