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Museum of Southeast American Indian making upgrades

Emma Locklear quilt
Emma Locklear admires a new custom case displaying a 107-year-old pinecone patchwork quilt on display at the Museum of the Southeast American Indian

The Museum of the Southeast American Indian at UNC Pembroke is undergoing a major facelift and visitors caught a glimpse of the improvements and structural upgrades during Lumbee Homecoming.

The public took advantage of several free activities and entertainment at the museum located on the first floor of Old Main.

Renovations began shortly after Nancy Strickland Fields took over as director in January 2017. The work will continue for the next several weeks.

“It has been a true labor of love this past year,” she said. “I want to thank everyone who has pitched in from Facilities to our museum staff.”

Guests will immediately notice the new flooring as they pass by the new receptionist area. The Children’s Discovery Center, another added feature, simulates a front porch setting. A large video monitor enclosed inside a makeshift front door will display interviews with local elders and community members.

“They will be sharing what is was like to shell peas on the front porch and what it was like churning ice cream,” Fields said.

A brush arbor will be erected adjacent to the makeshift porch and offer a ‘make-it and take-it’ center for youth. Guests will be able to make traditional items such as corn husk dolls.

“We want to introduce more hands-on activities,” Fields said. “The Children’s Discovery Center is an intergenerational learning space for guest to experience together as a family.

“We want people to come in here and experience their culture and their identity and the big picture of southeast native identity in a much greater way than just walking through and seeing things on the wall.”

Also new to the museum is an oversized, custom-built case which proudly displays a 107-year-old quilt sewn by Maggie Lowrie Locklear, the daughter of Rhoda and Henry Berry Lowries. The five-foot long pinecone patchwork quilt was donated by Emma Locklear. Maggie was married to Emma’s father, Hezekiah Locklear.

The elaborate case was purchased thanks to a generous donation by a local donor.