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Go Ask Mom

Destination: Discover Your Governors at N.C. Museum of History

Posted November 10

Every four years, the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh opens an exhibit about the state's governors.

And, while the latest exhibit, which opened a couple of weeks ago, features campaign memorabilia and old photos like past ones, there's a different twist - it's designed for kids.

RaeLana Poteat, the museum's curator of political and social history, tells me Discover Your Governors falls in line with elementary school curriculum and aims to personalize the state's leaders and their families through artifacts, videos, interactive displays and more.

Poteat hopes children come away from the exhibit with new knowledge about North Carolina's leaders, but also with an understanding that anybody can be governor.

"These were real people who were leaders," Poteat said.

The exhibit, which sits in the museum's lobby, features colorful displays that answer six questions: How do you become governor? What does the governor do? Where do they work and live? Who are past governors? What is the first family? And who is the governor now?

Kids will be drawn to the two touchscreen displays, of course. Both feature students from A.B. Combs Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh. In one, students ask former governors questions about their life and work.

A boy named Amari, for instance, asks if there are any "girl governors."

"You're looking at her," answers former Gov. Bev Perdue in the videos. "I'm the first girl governor."

The other touchscreen display features a quiz with questions such as "What are the requirements for becoming governor?" and "Does the governor have to be born in North Carolina?"

The exhibit also offers kids an opportunity to "participate" in an election. In a voting booth, kids can select their favorite "candidate," including B.E. Green, who wants to protect the environment, or Noah Tacks, who wants to spend more money to prevent crime.

And there's a section about first families, one of many places scattered throughout the exhibit where you'll see references to the children of governors.

There's a picture of a pizza party, where the pizza was served on fancy platters, and another of a sleepover, where the kids slid down the banister in the Executive Mansion, for instance. Hanging on the wall, there's a sign the mansion's staff created to greet a governor's family on their first day in the official residence.

Coupled with campaign materials, formal gowns and other memorabilia, these personal memories and mementos make for an exhibit that will resonate with kids.

Poteat hopes kids come away from the exhibit with this message: "You can be a future leader too. These people aren't inherently different from you."

The exhibit runs through Aug. 6. It's free.

Go Ask Mom features places to take kids every Friday. For more, check our posts on parks and playgrounds and Triangle family destinations.

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