Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective

North Carolina Museum of History

Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective

See North Carolina's history and beauty through the eyes of photographer Hugh MacRae Morton (1921-2006). His captivating images will be featured in the exhibit Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective, opening Saturday, Aug. 13, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The traveling exhibit is on loan from the UNC Library's North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, and it will run through Sept. 4, 2017. Admission is free.

"Morton's images showcase his love for Tar Heel people, events, landmarks, nature, sports and tourism," said Museum Director Ken Howard. "We are pleased to highlight the work of this prolific North Carolinian whose career spanned eight decades."

From breathtaking mountain views to scenes of coastal fishermen folding nets, the exhibit covers aspects of Morton's various experiences as a photojournalist; as a soldier in the Pacific Theater during World War II; and as owner and operator of Grandfather Mountain tourist attraction in Linville. The exhibit's 87 images feature dozens of his lesser known or unpublished photographs, as well as some classics.

Morton's photographs reflect his passions as an avid conservationist, environmental activist, sports fan and tourism booster in the Tar Heel State. Visitors to Photographs by Hugh Morton also will discover that he was a prominent businessman and political figure in the state.

While many of the images capture aspects of daily life, others depict celebrities and events. A sampling of subjects in Photographs by Hugh Morton follows.

HaystacksFarmer gazing at haystacks, McDowell County, 1949. Morton noted that he took the photograph before the farmer was aware of his presence.

Grandfather MountainMajestic scenes of Grandfather Mountain and the site's annual events: Singing on the Mountain gospel festival and Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

Arthur Smith and his band, the Carolina Crackerjacks, ca. 1952, who gained national success in the early days of television. Other celebrity images include singer Johnny Cash and journalists Dan Rather and David Brinkley.

Feeding gullsWomen reaching toward the sky as they feed gulls while crossing Oregon Inlet on a state ferry, ca. 1962.

Vince CarterUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel Hill basketball player Vince Carter dunking during the Nov. 22, 1997, game against the University of California at Berkeley. Morton became well known for sports-related events, especially those of men's basketball and football at UNC-Chapel Hill.

To create Photographs by Hugh Morton, Stephen Fletcher, photographic archivist at UNC Library's North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, selected images from the library's collection of Morton's estimated quarter-million negatives and transparencies. Fletcher and his co-workers made high-resolution digital scans from Morton's original negatives and transparencies, which were made into prints for the exhibit.

Come to the N.C. Museum of History for a glimpse of North Carolina during the 20th century. Learn more about the accomplished Wilmington, N.C., native who contributed so much to his beloved state.

For information about the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-807-7900 or access or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube.

About the N.C. Museum of History

The N.C. Museum of History is located at 5 E. Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The museum collects and preserves artifacts of North Carolina history and educates the public on the history of the state and the nation through exhibits and educational programs. Each year more than 300,000 people visit the museum to see some of the 150,000 artifacts in the museum collection. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

About the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit


  • North Carolina Museum of History
  • 5 East Edenton Street
  • Raleigh, NC 27601



Carolina Publishing

PO Box 1155
Matthews, NC 28106

(704) 708-6270