State of Mind

What has twenty-seven historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums, thirty- nine state parks and recreation areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the state library, the state archives, the North Carolina Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship?

That would be SUSI HAMILTON’s office.

The Wilmingtonian has headed up the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources since January 2017. In the job, she oversees a budget of $230 million, nearly 2,000 employees, and more than eighty boards and commissions. Each year, the agency welcomes more than 35 million visitors to its various attractions across the state.

“It’s a big ship, but it works,” says Hamilton, who gave up her legislative seat to take the state cabinet-level post. “We are stewards of our parks, historic sites, the zoo, the aquariums.”

The department, the result of a merger in 2015 of separate entities overseeing natural resources and cultural resources, has authority over a broad range of North Carolina’s treasures and is an advocate for historic preservation, environmental conservation, and recognition of the state’s rich cultural heritage.

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(Wilma Magazine, 7/2/18)