One of the projects that Tom and I have been working on at Kings Mountain is the Great Wagon Road Display for the museum. We were given this assignment when we first arrived, to be a temporary display in the museum. There is a “temporary” display case, but it is so hard to get into that it doesn’t get changed very often. Tom and I came up with an idea for the display, made an outline which was approved, gathered the materials we needed, and then waited for the stars to align to set it up.
First we had a delay with our big map. Tom created a beautiful map of colonial america with the major roads marked on it. The Great Wagon Road is the red one, and the one that settlers took to get to our part of South Carolina. We took it to Office Depot to get it made into a giant poster 40″ wide and 56″ tall. They had to send it to their Atlanta facility to have it printed on foam core and it took two weeks to get it back. The smaller display posters were done at the local Office Depot and were done much sooner.
Once we had all the display posters, we had to get into the museum archives to choose artifacts that would go in the window. We wanted typical items settlers would have brought with them on the Great Wagon Road. To do this, we had to wait until our ranger could take us into the archives. We chose a cauldron, a heavy ceramic pot, several tools, as well as reproductions of a trencher and wooden spoon the settlers might have used.
Then we had to get the key from the Chief Ranger. He is the only one with a key to the temporary display case, but he is often out of the office or very busy. On Saturday he was supposed to lead a special volunteer crew to do work in the park, but no one showed up to volunteer, so he was up at the Visitors Center with us and we got him to open the display. He helped us find the gloves we needed to wear to remove the items previously in the display, helped us record them and put them back in the archives, and then get the items we had selected out of the archives.
To get into the display case, you have to unlock the door set into the wall and then unscrew a very large and heavy panel set into the side of the display case. No wonder the display doesn’t get changed very often! Once we were finally inside, we got the display set up in a couple of hours. We hung up the posters and taped together the descriptions and tried to arrange everything in a way that was pleasing to the eye. I enjoyed my hour in the case waving at the people who came by – and surprising a few of them who weren’t expecting a museum display to move!
We are really pleased with the finished Great Wagon Road display. It is colorful and draws people in to the museum. We enjoy watching people stop and study the display. Best of all, the rangers think we did a good job and added something of value to the museum.