Living like a local: Checking out CAM

Mar 21, 2024 • 4 min. read | By Karen Bright

Wilmington is more than the beach, parks and restaurants. We also have a terrific cultural scene. Our museums have a lot to offer for anyone interested in art and history. 


The Cameron Art Museum is a great place to get both art and history as well as entertainment. They do an excellent job of providing different exhibitions and offering various events to keep you coming back. 


I visited the museum recently and was lucky enough to be there for the new special exhibit titled The Work of Their Hands: American Quiltmaking. This exhibition took up multiple rooms and had quilts ranging from giant bedspreads to small wall art. There were some from the 1800s as well as modern very current textiles. Some of the designs were so intricate it was overwhelming to imagine the craftsmanship and imagination, not to mention the time they must have taken to create.


Some of the quilts tell stories, and some are cool designs obviously well thought out by the artist. The star of the show is a large piece made by an enslaved woman whose name is unknown. I love to imagine her seeing her work displayed in a museum to be appreciated and celebrated.  


This exhibit will be showcased through Oct. 20.


The museum also has many areas dedicated to paintings, sculptures and any other mediums you can imagine. The work on exhibit changes and you can visit their website to get a bit of knowledge on the current artists and pieces on view ahead of time. It’s also fun to go and be surprised! The staff does a great job of explaining what is on display, and every piece of art will have a placard to explain a bit of history as well as information about the artist. 


In addition to artwork and a variety of exhibitions there is a beautiful cafe where you will find a menu that is perfect for a culturally dynamic arts center. They offer local cuisine along with cocktails. The cafe is open for lunch, dinner and brunch. This is a nice place to have a sophisticated meal.


Another feature of the museum is the outside area. There are large sculptures and exhibits.  These tell a story and will help you understand the artist’s interpretation of the work they are presenting. It is easy to be impressed by the size and scope of these outdoor pieces. One of the exhibits, Boundless, depicts the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. This history is so important and too often goes without mention. The outdoor campus is large and has a nature trail, a pond and opportunities to see some wildlife. 


There are always unique opportunities and events happening for the public to enjoy. You can call and schedule a guided tour to enhance your experience or go to their website to find out special events, hours and price of admission.  


The Cameron Art Museum, as we know it now, has been in Wilmington for over 60 years. Interestingly, the history of the museum really goes back to the 1920s. I encourage everyone to go to their website and read about the origins. 


It is not necessary to have a degree in art history to enjoy the artwork or the events at any museum. There is something for everyone and each person interprets and enjoys any piece of art in their own way. 


The art museum is a great way to enjoy an afternoon and to learn a little about history and see some beautiful craftsmanship.