On a mobile device? Visit http://www.lib.unc.edu/m/
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Libraries logo
University Libraries banner

Historic Rooms

early carolina room photoEarly Carolina Rooms

Among other historic settings in the North Carolina Collection Gallery are the Early Carolina Rooms. The largest of these rooms features furniture from the late colonial and early federal periods and has walls lined with paneling that was crafted in the mid-1700s from a house in Pasquotank County, N.C. Many years ago this wide, yellow-pine paneling was removed from that location, stored for a time, and then transported to Chapel Hill for installation in Wilson Library in the early 1950s.

Most of the Early Carolina Rooms' furniture dates from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and represents styles imported either from England, produced by American manufacturers in the north, or fashioned by local craftsmen in the Albemarle region of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Overall, the main room's decor does not intend to represent a typical settler's home of this period. Few citizens in the 1700s and the early 1800s could afford such finely crafted interiors. At that time it would have been far more common to find a Carolinian or Virginian living in a small clapboard structure or in a log cabin with mud-chinked walls, dirt floors, and with few, if any, windows.

spinner Furnishings in the Early Carolina Rooms include pieces ranging from a refined Hepplewhite card table (ca. 1810) and a cellarette to a walnut tavern table and more roughly finished chairs. On display, too, are framed ornithological prints and maps from the period. Adjacent to a large fireplace are old cooking utensils, devices for spinning and measuring home-spun yarns, and other implements that were commonly found in homes two centuries ago. These items are often used in discussions about home industry in guided tours for visiting elementary and middle-school students.