By Maury York
Recently, those involved in developing the Tar River Center for History and Culture (TRCHC) asked a simple question: "What should the center be and do?"
The response has been impressive. On Sept. 19, some 62 citizens of Franklin, Granville, Vance, and Wake counties came to a planning meeting in Louisburg, where they shared their ideas about the future of the TRCHC and about the importance of history and culture in general.
High on the list of priorities are historic preservation, including a survey of the architecture of Franklin County; a research center where people can conduct historical and genealogical research; development of the Tar River for recreational purposes; downtown revitalization in Louisburg and other towns; improved facilities for cultural institutions and organizations; and the need of local organizations for assistance with grant writing and marketing.
For more details concerning the meeting and the excellent ideas expressed, please refer to the report recently posted to the Web site of the TRCHC: http://www.louisburg.edu/tarrivercenter/planning_session.html.
Readers who do not have access to the Internet may receive a copy of the report by calling me at (919) 497-3252.
Since the time of the meeting, I have spoken to several organizations and have heard from a number of individuals.
Folks have suggested additional ideas, including an oral history program to capture the memories of older citizens before their stories are lost, the development of plays to commemorate key events from our past, effective ways to support the study of state and local history in our schools, and sponsorship of a "Road Scholar" (Elderhostel) program at Louisburg College.
All of these ideas are worthwhile. Some may best be accomplished by the TRCHC, others by town and county governments. Success can and will come if individuals, organizations, and elected officials work together.
Louisburg College is ready to do its part. In the near future the college will hold a second planning session to examine the ideas expressed to date and to begin the process of crafting a strategic plan for the TRCHC - a document to guide the organization for the next two or three years.
Once a draft plan has been developed, it will be released for public input.
Dr. Mark La Branche and I are encouraged by the many expressions of support we have received concerning this endeavor. We are confident that the citizens of this region will come together to help history and culture flourish for the good of all.
Published in The Franklin Times on October 24, 2013.
Maury York is director of the Tar River Center for History and Culture at Louisburg College.