Raleigh museum features iconic photos of Hugh Morton - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Raleigh museum features iconic photos of Hugh Morton

The "Photographs by Hugh Morton" exhibit will be on display at the North Carolina Museum of History through Labor Day. (Source: WECT) The "Photographs by Hugh Morton" exhibit will be on display at the North Carolina Museum of History through Labor Day. (Source: WECT)
RALEIGH, NC (WECT) -

The late Wilmington businessman Hugh Morton led the effort to bring the Battleship North Carolina to Wilmington and was the first President of the North Carolina Azalea Festival. Morton is also remembered for bringing the state's beauty and history to thousands thru his iconic photographs, many of which have rarely been seen, until now. 

After getting a camera when he was 13, Morton rarely went anywhere in his adult life without his camera. And thru his lens, Morton became the state's unofficial photographer.

"He covered politics, he covered sports, he covered tourism, he covered everything across our state, and some of the photos he took were when he was just driving down the highway," said Ken Howard the director of the North Carolina Museum of History.

When Morton passed away seven years ago, he left an estimated 250,000 negatives to the University of North Carolina Library, They include photos many of us have already seen, from his work to save the Battleship North Carolina to his efforts as a nature conservationist who developed Grandfather Mountain.

But some of the 80-plus photos selected for a display at the North Carolina Museum of History include many pictures Morton took that have not been featured in other books and magazine covers.

To create the exhibit, high-resolution digital scans were made from Morton's original negatives and transparencies, and made into prints. They show Morton's effort to document the identity of North Carolina over a 50-year span.

"My favorite personal photograph is him standing at Grandfather Mountain and him looking towards downtown Charlotte, and you can see the high rises of downtown Charlotte, 87 miles away, so it is really an incredible photo, I think," Howard said.

The exhibit captures all of the aspects of Morton's photography, from his early days as a military photographer, to majestic scenes of Grandfather Mountain, the site's annual events of singing on the mountain to the highland games, and, of course, his beloved Mildred the Bear. It shows the heart and soul of North Carolina residents and events.

"It is obvious from looking at these photos that he was truly a remarkable individual and the things he did really helps us preserve North Carolina's history and culture," Howard said.

The "Photographs by Hugh Morton" exhibit will be on display at the North Carolina Museum of History through Labor Day.

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