Museum of History News

A Perfect Recipe

Food is an important part of Tar Heel traditions, from the mountains to the sea. And how can you successfully carry on those traditions? It may seem as if food just “appears” on a table, but in reality, favored ingredients, learned techniques, and even the occasional secret are involved. Food traditions have long been passed down from generation to generation, by teaching and trial and error; but many also rely on written directions, or recipes.

You’ve probably heard business leaders talk about “recipes for success,” and such recipes have become associated with a range of topics and projects—even blogs. These recipes are not literal recipes, for cooking, but they are sets of “ingredients” and processes and instructions. The ingredients for making this blog enticing, for example, are considerations of audience, topic, and story, as well as visuals that are blended in certain ways by writers, editors, and designers.

Cooking is a team effort

Have you figured out that this writer is a cook and a foodie? If not, you will as you read future posts related to the Great Depression and World War II, the Biltmore Estate and other regional focuses, and more history and traditions.

Recipes and presentation
tureen G.1949.4.21
Source: North Carolina Museum of History Collection, G.1949.4.21

Presentation may not be everything, but imagine a perfect recipe for French seafood bouillabaisse being served in this amazing soup tureen (ca. 1935–1945). The tureen arrived in North Carolina as part of the Merci Train (or Gratitude Train or Friendship Train), a train of 49 boxcars filled with personal treasures and gifts from the people of Europe. The gifts were sent to show appreciation for American support during and after World War II.

Once the contents of North Carolina’s boxcar were presented, with a ceremony and a parade, and accepted by then governor Kerr Scott, many of the gifts—ranging from toys to textiles to household items to antiques and other valuables—were entrusted to the Museum of History; others were distributed to libraries, schools, and other museums around the state. The train car, itself, has been restored and is now housed at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer (Rowan County).

Interested in a bouillabaisse recipe? Try this highly rated recipe from Australia’s Taste magazine. Or, if you’re not in the mood for a fish stew, try this recipe for Kay’s Oyster Stew from North Carolina: An Appetizing State!, the latest cookbook by the museum’s membership group.

In addition to myself, two other “cooks” are currently involved in this blog. I am Sandra Webbere, and I work with Stephen Evans and Amme Fleming at the Museum of History. We are the faces who provide food for your thought and urge you to leave comments and insights—the team who generates, edits, and designs posts for A Place & Time.

We are the chefs who

  • formulate posts, connecting you to history and the North Carolina Museum of History;
  • craft posts, to relay information, stimulate thought, and provoke conversation; and
  • design layouts, enticing you to read, learn, and become part of our circle.

The cooks in our kitchen, and their passions

Sandra Webbere (writer), Stephen Evans (editor), and Amme Fleming (designer) in the kitchen gallery of Cedars in the Pines.
Left to right: Sandra Webbere (writer), Stephen Evans (editor), and Amme Fleming (designer) in the kitchen gallery of Cedars in the Pines, an exhibit that closed in 2014.
Source: North Carolina Museum of History

Being an army brat and traveling the world with my family was my introduction to world history and cultures—I was hooked on history and museums by the age of nine! My quest in the years I’ve worked at the North Carolina Museum of History—as a curator, an educator, a public speaker, a grant writer, and now a blogger—has been to encourage my audiences to believe that history is dynamic and alive and not civilization’s dustbin.


I like to push boundaries with every program, lecture, course, article, and exhibit, and I’ve worked to cover a wide gambit of topics, from World War II to pop culture to decoys. This effort is obvious in many of the past exhibits I have curated: Celebrations; 1920s Drugstore; Everybody’s War: North Carolina and World War II; Barbie—Simply Fabulous at 50!; ArtDuckO: Waterfowl Culture in North Carolina; and Scotty McCreery: An American Idol.

My passion? People, including the many women I’ve cooked for who have walked in and out of the Helen Wright Center for Women over the past 20 years. And baking, especially Amish friendship bread and cookies for people who need to know they are special and that someone cares.

As project editor for the museum’s Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine in the 1990s, I strived to make history interesting for schoolchildren in grades 4 through 12 by relating it to topics and strategies they could understand. Now, after more than a decade away from the museum world (often helping individuals organize and write their memoirs, personal histories, and family histories), I work to help writers at the museum to polish their words for exhibition labels, educational materials, publications, and parts of the website,

A view of Watergate: Political Scandal & the Presidency, which ran at the Museum of History from May 17, 2013, through August 10, 2014. A view of For Us the Living: The Civil War Art of Mort Künstler, which ran at the Museum of History from August 23, 2013, through January 5, 2014. A view of Formed, Fired, and Finished: Art Pottery from the James-Farmer Collection, which ran at the Museum of History from November 15, 2013, through August 3, 2014.

Since returning in 2013, I have edited some issues of the museum’s Circa magazine, as well as its bimonthly Program Calendar and a few exhibits: Watergate: Political Scandal & the Presidency; “Turn the Radio On”: Carolina Bluegrass; Carolina Bluegrass: Breakdowns and Revivals; Formed, Fired, and Finished: Art Pottery from the James-Farmer Collection; and Starring North Carolina! among the largest.

My passion? Guess; the clue is that I also freelance as an editor in my free time!

Since earning a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor of graphic design from North Carolina State University’s College of Design, I’ve been a graphic designer—gaining local and global advertising and branding experience for more than a decade. I joined the North Carolina Museum of History in 2012.

In addition to working with some of the museum’s publications, such Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine; promotional items for exhibitions, programs, and lectures; and this blog, I also provide graphic design for exhibits, including The Story of North Carolina and the upcoming “Hey America!”: Eastern North Carolina and the Birth of Funk and Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives.

My passion? When not sparking fresh ideas for the museum’s print, exhibit, and multimedia needs, I enjoy spending time with my two young daughters and my husband. I also serve as a gray squirrel rehabber for Wildlife Welfare.


Have a comment? Leave one . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s