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History in North Carolina: Learn of a banjo picker, bearded pirate or battlewagon

Earl Scruggs Center

If you’ve ever heard a good banjo picker, chances are the style was influenced by the legendary Earl Scruggs. The Cleveland County native perfected the art of three-finger plucking, and it catapulted him to stardom. The center that bears his names highlights not only Scruggs’ contributions but also others who have made their mark on American music. Special exhibits have explored the history of military music, instrument making in the Piedmont region, and the story behind the Grand Ole Opry. Standing displays delve into the region’s music, culture and music makers.

103 S. Lafayette St., Shelby 28150. 704-487-6233,

Battleship North Carolina

Commissioned in 1941, the most decorated battleship of World War II saw action in the Pacific and came to rest at a permanent home on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington. Since 1962 it has served as a memorial to the North Carolinians who served in that war. Plan to spend several hours (preferably in comfortable, soft-soled shoes) exploring its nooks and crannies, from compact sleeping compartments and food- prep areas to the engine rooms and gun turrets. Hear the stories from some of the 144 officers and 2,195 men who were part of her complement. The ship serves as a center for celebrations and observances on day including Easter, Flag Day, Halloween and Pearl Harbor Day.

1 Battleship Road, Wilmington 28401. 910-251-5795,

North Carolina Maritime Museums

It was a proverbial dark and stormy night in 1718 when Blackbeard, the famed pirate, and his flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, ran aground near the Beaufort inlet. The wreck, discovered in 1996, has given up a treasure trove of artifacts including cannons, anchors and belt buckles. Those relics are now part of the display at this museum dedicated to the local seafaring industry. Learn about area lighthouses, marine life, the seafood business and boat building.

315 Front St., Beaufort 28516. 252-728-7317,

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