Museum Day Live! returns on Saturday

Iris Hunter Richmond County Daily Journal

September 26, 2013

Take a trip to the past by participating in Museum Day Live! on Saturday.

The Smithsonian Magazine is sponsoring a free day at museums throughout the country.

Smithsonian Museum Day Live! is an annual event in which participating museums allow those who present a Museum Day ticket into the museum at no charge.

The Museum Day Live! ticket is only good for two people per household. The ticket will allow an individul to gain entry to only one of the participating museums and does not include parking or special events and exhibits.

Hamlet Depot & Museums in Hamlet and the Rankin Museum in Ellerbe are both participating in the annual event.

“Last year was our inaugural year in the event, but it was a lot of fun,” said Miranda Chavis, manager of Hamlet Depot & Museums. “We actually had a children’s scavenger hunt at the museum for historical facts about Hamlet and the railroad. For every successful scavenger hunt, the child received a free train whistle. Last year, we handed out around 40 train whistles to area children on Museum Day Live!”

“This year, we will do something a little bit different, ” she said. “We have a museum worksheet that compares the diesel locomotive on display in Main St. Park to the steam locomotive in the Tornado building. For every correct sheet that each child turns in, we will give them a ‘Chuggington’ poster,” Chavis said.

Miranda feels that this annual event is important since museums are places that preserve our knowledge and share it with the public. Any initative that brings such national awareness to the role of museums and encourages visitation is important, she said.

“This nationwide event brings awareness to museums as centers of education and community,” said Chavis.

More importantly, by being free and open to the public with the Museum Day Live! ticket, it gives people an opportunity to explore museums that may otherwise have an entry fee. As a free museum, the Hamlet Depot & Museums participates in the spirit of the event. Ultimately, it’s all about enjoying your local museums,” she said.

Chavis is looking forward to Saturday and meeting new people as well as returning patrons.

“Last year, we had first-time visitors that came to the Hamlet Depot & Museums because of Museum Day Live!,” Chavis said. “It’s always a joy to see the Depot through the eyes of someone visiting for the first time. Most people are in awe of the Depot; it’s a grand-looking building. However, everyone loves the model railroads. When we show new visitors these aspects of the museum, it’s as though it is our first time seeing it too. It’s a special moment that reaffirms all of the work that we do at the Hamlet Depot & Museums.”

This year is the fifth year that The Rankin Museum will be participating in the program. Gail Benson, museum curator, feels that this event is important because it brings museums in North Carolina together.

“It is the one thing that all the museums do together every year,” she said.

Benson said that a few people have participated in this event at The Rankin Museum. However, she are inviting more people to visit. There are so many different kinds of museums that you are able to participate in, including history museums and aquariums, and you can learn so many different things, she said.

Hamlet Depot & Museums, located on Main Street, will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. for those who would like to visit the museum. If you have any questions regarding the visiting the museum, contact Chavis at 910-582-0603.

The Rankin Museum will be extending its hours on Saturday, which will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To download a ticket, visit

— Staff Writer Iris Hunter can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at