Hours: Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m.; Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Closed Monday. Open to the public.
At the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, artifacts help tell some of the African-American story. For example, there is a winnowing basket used by the slaves for harvesting rice, slave shackles and reproduction gourd instruments. African- Americans, whether slaves, freed from slavery, or born free, worked in the naval stores industry, helping North Carolina earn the nickname Tar Heel state. Many free African-Americans were farmers, belonging either to the tenant or yeoman class. The lives of many are told collectively through the museum's exhibits. The 1897 Poe House is part of the historical complex. A tour of the Poe House discusses the roles of African-American women working as domestic servants at the turn of the 20th century. Discover a bit of what life was like for the African- Americans in the Jim Crow south. The remains of the U.S. Arsenal in North Carolina comprises the third component of the museum's campus. Walk this site and you walk the grounds where African- Americans, both free and enslaved, labored to help construct a federal arsenal prior to the Civil War. Now known as Arsenal Park, the facility manufactured weapons and other ordinance goods for the Confederacy. In March 1865, Union troops fulfilled an order by General William Sherman to "batter, blast and burn" the arsenal. Ruins of the building foundations and a modern steel semblance known as the Ghost Tower keep vigil for the lives associated with this historic site.