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Natural and Cultural Resources, Department of

[Previously named: Cultural Resources, Department of]

The Department name was changed to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (2015).

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006; Revised December 2021

Image of the logo for the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.The Department of Art, Culture, and History was created by the Executive Organization Act of 1971 and activated in 1972. By this statute, various commissions, boards, and independent state agencies were consolidated and placed under the new department. The formerly independent agencies included the North Carolina State Library, founded in 1812; the Department of Archives and History, formed in 1943 from the North Carolina Historical Commission, which dates from 1903; the North Carolina Museum of Art, established in 1965 as an outgrowth of the North Carolina State Art Society, Inc. (1979); and the North Carolina Symphony, organized in 1932. While these agencies retained their statutory functions and authority, managerial and executive responsibilities were transferred to the head of the new department, a cabinet-level secretary appointed by the governor.

The department was replaced by the Executive Organization Act of 1973 with the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR), whose secretary continues to have administrative responsibility for the department, including such culture-related boards and commissions as the Edenton Historical Commission; the Bath, Hillsborough, Murfreesboro, North Carolina, and Tryon Palace Commissions; and the USS North Carolina Battleship and First Flight Centennial Commissions.

The modern DCR attempts to fulfill its mission of enhancing the cultural life of citizens and visitors through the preservation, development, promotion, and dissemination of artistic, historical, and informational resources; the exploration and interpretation of the state's collective culture; and the provision of access to that culture through its various programs. Administratively, the DCR is divided into the Office of Archives and History and the Office of Arts and Libraries. Within these offices are numerous divisions, including the Division of State Historic Sites, the Division of State History Museums, the State Archives, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Historic Publications Section, the State Library, the Arts Council, and the North Carolina Symphony.

On September 18, 2015 the Department of Cultural Resources was renamed the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. At that time a number of divisions in state government were transferred to the department. These included the North Carolina Zoological Park, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina's aquariums, North Carolina's state parks, the Clean Water Trust Fund, and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. 

Image of the logo of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

Additional Resources:

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources official website:

Archived webpages, 2001-present. North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources:*/

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Facebook webpage:

North Carolina General Assembly Renaming Legislation:

North Carolina State Government Publications Collection:

Image Credits:

"NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources logo." North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

"NC Department of Cultural Resources logo." North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. (Accessed June 25, 2013).

Origin - location: 
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Noticed a typo for spelling of aquarium in article. Misspelled as aquarium.


Hi Lynda,

Thank you for brining this to our attention!

Kind regards,

Molly Goldston, NC Government & Heritage Library


Do you have plans to update this to include when Cultural Resources became Natural and Cultural Resources?


Hi Leisa,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and especially for taking time to share your question.

We have just updated this entry to reflect the Department's name change and we have added an image of the new logo.

Thank you!

Kelly Agan, State Library of NC

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