Located in a rural area of the North Carolina piedmont where pottery making has a 200-year history, the North Carolina Pottery Center opened in the town of Seagrove in 1998. The facility features a permanent exhibit that interprets the history of pottery making in North Carolina, temporary exhibits in adjacent galleries, an educational building, and wood-fired kilns. The Pottery Center’s mission is to promote public awareness and appreciation of the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina through educational programs, public services, collection and preservation, and research and documentation.
The center meets its educational goals through permanent and temporary exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, and classes; conferences, workshops, and presentations in schools. As a public service the center provides information to acquaint visitors with the locations and offerings of pottery shops throughout North Carolina. The center is continually building its collection of pottery and related artifacts (photographs, films, and other documentary materials) and is preserving and maintaining them according to professional museum standards.
At the core of the center’s educational mission is a permanent exhibit detailing the history of pottery making in North Carolina—from Native American pots through the utilitarian earthenware and stoneware of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to decorative contemporary productions. In addition, the center has produced a series of changing exhibits on more specialized topics such as “Catawba Clay: Pottery from the Catawba nations,’ “heavy Metal: Chrome Red Glazes in North Carolina,” “Kiln disasters,” and “Companionable Creatures: Animal Imagery in North Carolina Clay.”