A Message from our Director

As we draw near to the final days of the Cedars in the Pines exhibit at the NC Museum of History (closing August 31), I wanted to update you on some exciting news about the project.

1. Move to Tryon Palace: After closing in Raleigh, we will take the exhibit to the Tryon Palace in New Bern! The exhibit will open on September 12th and remain there until mid-December. You are all (but especially those of you in Eastern North Carolina) invited to attend the opening reception. Please find the invitation and instructions for RSVP below.

2. Funding: Moving the exhibit New Bern, and making it accessible to the folks living in the eastern part of the state, is costing us $15,000. We have raised close to $8,000, but we still need your support in raising the remaining $7,000. Your previous support has allowed us to bring the story of the Lebanese in North Carolina to thousands of visitors at the NC Museum of History. Your continued support will help us bring the same story to many others in the state. So, please take a moment now and go to our website and click on the DONATE button to send in your contributions. We take checks as well as credit cards. Please do so this week as we are in urgent needs of those funds. Thank you!

3. Newsletter: Some of your may be wondering about the July/August issue of the Lebanese in NC newsletter. We are in the final stages of some exciting changes to the program that will be announced on October 14th. Given this major change, we have decided to wait on releasing the new issues until later in September. So, stay tuned for that as well as for the major announcement. Check out the Newsletter archive in the meantime!

Thank you again for your continued support!

Exhibit leaving Raleigh soon

We are so proud of the work we accomplished with the support and donations of the community in bringing together a full-scale museum exhibition that features the contributions and history of the Lebanese in North Carolina from the 1890s to today.

The museum exhibit “Cedars in the Pines” has been so well-received, making it one of the most widely attended exhibits at the NC Museum of History! Check out the crowdsourced photos from the opening reception.

The exhibit will be closing on August 31 and traveling to New Bern’s Tryon Palace.

Check out the great Press on the exhibit and be sure to see it before it’s gone!



Festival scavenger hunt, great success!

This is a guest post from Margie Merod, Assistant Director, The Lebanese in North Carolina Project.

Saturday, August 2nd saw a great turnout at the Cedars in the Pines festival hosted by the Triangle Lebanese Association (TLA)  and the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies. Lebanese-Americans, tourists, and Raleighites flocked to the NC Museum of History to enjoy Lebanese food, and dance performances. Children had their fortunes read, played backgammon, made bracelets, and learned to translate their names into Arabic.

Click images below to enlarge!

Of course many people visited the Cedars in the Pines exhibit. Children could complete exhibit scavenger hunts, performing tasks like listing food displayed in the kitchen and describing how Lebanese silk was made. If they got all the answers, they got a special bookmark and a stamped souvenir passport to celebrate their accomplishment

El-Khouris: Theresa, Mariam, Barbara, Catherine, and Marsha

El-Khouris: Theresa, Mariam, Barbara, Catherine, and Marsha

Some visitors to the gallery saw the exhibit for the first time, while others were on their second or third trip. The El-Khouri sisters, originally from Andrews, North Carolina, gathered at the festival with their children to share the exhibit experience together. Their father, Joe, is highlighted in the “Business” and “Community Services” portions, while his prayer book and home movies are on display (you can see the home movies on our YouTube channel). The sisters had a wonderful time reliving  childhood memories and learning about their heritage.

They stayed in the gallery until forced to leave at closing! Marsha El-Khouri Shiver stated, “we do all feel very proud of our heritage and thus all of what you accomplished in the special project.” Like so many Lebanese-North Carolinians, the exhibit and associated activities touched their hearts.


Over 1,000 visit exhibit in 1 day!

On Saturday, during the Lebanese festival held at the NC Museum of History, nearly 2.400 people visited the museum. Of this high volume, over 1,000 passed through the Cedars in the Pines exhibit to learn about Lebanese history in the state and to interact with maps, video games, dance lessons, stereographs and more.

Courtesty of TLA

Courtesty of TLA

The lobby was filled with henna stations so visitors could decorate their hands, calligraphy booths where visitors could see their names written in Arabic script, a game of backgammon, and a fortune teller. If visitors were of Lebanese ancestry, they could locate their town of origin on a large wall map. The auditorium at the museum was filled with performances for over 5 hours: belly dancers, dabke troupes with dancers varying in age, dance instruction, music recitals, and even a reading of Gibran Khalil Gibran’s famous poetry.

To end the day’s events were wonderful speeches delivered by U.S. Congressman David Price and N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. By the time the day came to an end, visitors asked if the festival could become an annual event. Stay tuned!