Raising the roof(s)

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Likewise, a building without a roof cannot house neither museum artifacts nor works of art. Right now two Beaufort County landmarks are dealing with significant issues regarding their roofs. Both are historic structures, and both are at the center of their respective communities.

In Aurora, the Aurora Fossil Museum is in the midst of raising money to repair an aging roof that was also impacted by Hurricane Florence. More and more, leaks and drips are becoming a common problem, and without attention, it will only get worse.

When it comes to downtown Washington, it doesn’t get much more iconic than the historic Turnage Theatre. Although portions of the roof were redone when the building was renovated in the early 2000s, portions above the vaudeville theater are in danger of imminent failure.

Both the museum and the Turnage are economic drivers for their respective communities and for Beaufort County as a whole. Both date to the early 1900s and few could describe these towns without them. The two structures, and the activities they facilitate, are crucial to the cultural and economic fabric of the community.

The plight of these buildings also poses larger questions — how many other iconic structures in Beaufort County are in danger, and what steps are being taken to stabilize them? At what point are they unsalvageable and destined for the wrecking ball? How can we preserve these cultural and historical touchstones for years to come?

These questions will have to be answered another day, and passionate community members are constantly working toward those ends. Right now, the needs of the Turnage and the Aurora Fossil Museum are pressing and deserving of our attention. Both are right at halfway through their campaigns, with the Turnage needing $500,000 and the Fossil Museum needing $20,000. Not all of us have deep pockets, but these are two causes worth giving to, no matter how small the donation.

To learn more about these respective campaigns, visit www.artsofthepamlico.org/raise-the-roof and aurorafossilmuseum.org/post/47/roof-campaign.html.