"Are We There Yet: North Carolina’s Variety Vacationland, 1930s-1970s", is a new traveling exhibit produced by the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. The “Mountains” portion of the exhibit will open on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, and run through Sunday, October 15, 2023. Admission is free.

This photography exhibit looks back at an era when tourism boomed, thanks largely to a state-run marketing effort called “Variety Vacationland.” The Variety Vacationland campaign was successful in creating a unified tourism industry in North Carolina from the 1930s to the 1970s by depicting our state as both modern and progressive, but with strong ties to the past. However, true to the Jim Crow era, most sites promoted were marketed (and accessible) to White tourists only; people of color were neglected and even exploited at times, an attitude this exhibit attempts to point out where possible.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, politicians and business leaders began efforts to boost North Carolina’s economy by lobbying for a statewide campaign to showcase tourism attractions. This eventually led to a full-color tourism guide titled North Carolina, a Variety Vacationland, first printed in 1937. It was soon followed by billboards, postcards, movies, televisions programs, and even a jingle.

For more information, contact Jesse Bricker at 828-668-9259 or by email at jesse.bricker@ncdcr.gov.

Tweetsie Railroad train with passengers
Tweetsie Railroad opened 4 July 1957 at Blowing Rock.