Featured Exhibit at the Duffy Gallery

The Duffy Exhibition Gallery, located just off the Talton Pavillion corridor past the Museum Gift Shop, is a premier location for special exhibitions in historic New Bern and across Eastern North Carolina. 

The gallery is named after Minnette Chapman Duffy, an ardent supporter of the reconstruction of Tryon Palace. As one of a group of “persistent ladies,” including Gertrude Carraway and Maude Moore Latham, Mrs. Duffy lobbied hard for the reconstruction of Tryon Palace establishing a “New Bern Historical Pageant” to raise attention and funds for the endeavor and was named a charter member of the Tryon Palace Commission. Unfortunately, she did not live to see the rebuilding of the Palace. 

Changing exhibits at the Duffy Gallery explore the endless riches of North Carolina’s history. Exhibits 0ften feature local history, artifacts from Tryon Palace’s collection, local and regional art shows, or a popular traveling exhibit. 

Current Exhibit at the Duffy Exhibition Gallery

Tryon Palace announces the opening of a thought-provoking exhibition of 48 beautifully dramatic color photographs, ephemera, and narratives, that together tell the story of a journey along the Underground Railroad.  Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad opens on June 16, 2024, in the Duffy Gallery at the North Carolina History Center in New Bern. 

Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales has spent more than a decade meticulously researching “fugitive” slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom prior to capturing the photographs exhibited in the collection, Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad.  While the unnumbered routes of the Underground Railroad encompassed countless square miles, the path Michna-Bales documented encompasses roughly 2,000 miles and is based on actual sites, cities, and places that freedom-seekers passed through their journey.  From the cotton plantations south of Natchitoches, Louisiana, all the way north to the Canadian border, her series of photographs help us imagine what the long road to freedom may have looked like as seen through the eyes of one of those who made this epic journey.  The exhibition was organized by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, that brings programs and exhibits to small- and mid-sized communities, especially those that are underserved. The exhibit was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.