November 2, 2012

Educational Trips to Fort Fisher Fuel Increased Visitation

KURE BEACH — School children from across North Carolina are finding their way to Fort Fisher State Historic Site this fall to get a close-up look at Civil War history. As observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial continues, fourth graders studying North Carolina History get to walk the same paths used by Union and Confederate soldiers in a major Civil War battle in the state. Visitation to Fort Fisher in September was up almost 82% over last September, and student groups are booked into 2013.

“The assault on Fort Fisher came by land and sea, and the massive Union amphibious assault was effective in overpowering the fort, closing the port city of Wilmington and cutting off supplies to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army,” explains Site Manager Jim Steele.

When students come they see the earthworks fort, constructed of mounds of sand, employed defensively to absorb cannonballs crashing in from ships offshore. Costumed interpreters demonstrate period weapons and tools. Students can walk the trails and see the fort’s massive reproduction sea coast cannon used to counterattack the Union forces.

Visitation has been steadily increasing at Fort Fisher this year. Attendance for the site’s “2nd Saturdays” series in June, July and August also saw increased attendance. The program started in 2010 and visitation has grown by 272.3% since before the program started.

North Carolina is known far and wide for its authentic cultural experiences, and historic sites and museums are great destinations for those important cultural and heritage travelers, who stay longer and spend more money in local economies.

“Visitors are discovering that our state supported historic sites and museums offer great family fun, says Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle, who noted that state historic sites overall saw a 47% increase during September over the previous September.

Since it first opened in 1961, Fort Fisher State Historic Site has interpreted the importance of that major battle and of the port of Wilmington during the Civil War. The annual programs at Fort Fisher are the Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher, “Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown Day,” Civil War Preservation Park Day, 2nd Saturdays (June, July and August), and a Holiday Open House which happens this year on Dec. 6.

To learn more about the special events occurring every day at state cultural and historic attractions, visit Fort Fisher is located at 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd S. in Kure Beach. It is part of the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
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