Orange museum wants 'Confederate' taken off its facade
Posted June 10, 2015
Hillsborough, N.C. — The director of the Orange County Historical Museum has asked Hillsborough officials to remove the words "Confederate Memorial" from the museum's building.
The town-owned building, at 201 N. Churton St., dates to 1934 and was originally a whites-only Confederate memorial library, and the history museum moved into the building in 1982.
Museum Executive Director Candace Midgett said she worries that, even though a sign out front provides the museum's name, people might believe the building is a Confederate history museum rather than one that covers Orange County's complete history.
"It's a confusing name. We're not a Confederate memorial," Midgett said Wednesday. "The name itself is a barrier for people in the community in that it evokes post-Reconstruction history and the era of Jim Crow laws here in the South, and we want to be more inclusive than that."
The words "Public Library" were previously taken off the building facade, and she said that's a precedent to allow the museum to remove the rest of the lettering.
"We are not trying to erase that part of our history. We are just trying to contextualize so it makes more sense," she said.
The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners delayed action on Midgett's request until June 22.
Commissioner Jenn Weaver said town officials are considering alternatives, such as displaying the words inside the building or adding the word "former" to the facade.
"I don't think leaving the sign and the building as it is is the best thing for our community," Weaver said. "There's various choices, and I really think we need to talk more as a community about what the correct thing is."
Representatives of the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans oppose the effort.