Barbara E. Taylor, Director
Matthews Heritage Museum
Matthews, NC 28105
Local historian, Tom Hanchett, was feted today by a gathering of over 40 historians and friends who saw him presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award by former director of the Levine.
Museum of the New South, Emily Zimmern. The award, given by Governor Roy Cooper, is “for 30 years of exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and the community, that is above and beyond the call of duty and who have devoted their lives to serving others”.
Ed Williams, former editor of The Charlotte Observer, was the Emcee of the program. Included in his remarks, “In my 25 years as editor of The Charlotte Observer’s editorial page, one suggestion I often made to writers on Charlotte topics was, ‘You might want to call Tom Hanchett to find out more about this.’ For years Tom has been a go-to guy on Charlotte’s history”.
Zimmern stated “During his 16 years at the Levine Museum, Tom generated an award-winning, highly respected body of work that demonstrated new and original ways in which history can be used to build community. … He has a unique ability to show how history is relevant to contemporary issues in ways that lead to deeper understanding”.
The groundbreaking COURAGE exhibit, which Hanchett curated, about the Carolina roots of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954) received national media attention, won the top national awards from American Association for State and Local History and the American Alliance of Museums and was honored at a White House ceremony by First Lady Laura Bush. It has been said that Tom Hanchett has lived by the principle that “History happened here and is still happening here”.