Serving Kenly, Selma, Smithfield, Princeton & Pine Level since 1973

County museums add collection care specialist

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KENLY — Tourism revenue has allowed the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and Ava Gardner Museum to share the services of a collections care specialist.

Beth Nevarez began work at the tobacco museum in Kenly on Aug. 19.

According to Executive Director Melody Worthington, the museum recently received a $10,000 Johnston County Tourism Authority grant funded by hotel occupancy taxes.

Nevarez will work at the tobacco museum and the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield on a contracted basis to assist with collection care, exhibits and creating content-rich programs, Worthington said.

“Our goal is to promote the collection with Beth’s assistance in order to bring in more visitors to the area so we can continue to grow tourism in the county,” said Worthington. “She will be working on caring for our artifacts, creating new exhibits and increasing online resources and social media threads. We are grateful for the ability to concentrate on collection care thanks to the grant.”

Nevarez is originally from Lucama and is a 2009 graduate of Hunt High School in Wilson.

Worthington said Nevarez has been working at the museum through internships for several years while she was in college and has experience in historic preservation, archives and libraries.

Worthington added that Nevarez has produced the Throwback Thursday online posts for the past five years while volunteering at the museum.

Nevarez earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 followed by a master’s in public history from UNC-Wilmington.

Following graduation, Nevarez went to work in Greenville, South Carolina as an archivist with the Gary Player Group overseeing the company collection.

Since coming on board at the Kenly museum, Nevarez has primarily been working with the blacksmith shop and the old school.

“I have always liked history and especially working with old buildings that make it feel like you are connected physically with the past,” said Nevarez.

Nevarez is married to husband Antonio Navarez, who is employed by Wells Fargo. The couple lives in Kenly.