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North Carolina History Center at Tryon Palace

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Heather West


529 South Front Street



Office of Archives and History, an agency of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

Project Status


Year Completed



60,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost

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Project Description

The former Barbour Boat Works warehouse in New Bern, N.C., has transformed into the new North Carolina History Center at Tryon Palace. Built in 1770, Tryon Palace served as the first permanent capitol of North Carolina and was home to Royal Governor William Tryon. Helping connect the History Center’s enduring architectural heritage and the evolving educational space, Chicago Metallic Corporation® supplied a custom ceiling system.

The 60, 000-square-foot building features massive steel trusses spanning its width and other architectural elements typical of 1800’s industrial style. The $60 million project’s design team of BJAC and Quinn Evans Architects sought to reflect the history of the town and industrial character of the waterfront site, while pioneering new ideas in sustainable building design.

“Because we retained the building’s 19th century structural base, it was important that all other interior building elements fit within that structure, ” said Jennifer Amster, principal at BJAC. “That presented some challenges for our suppliers and contractors.”
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