History Hub Writes a Love Letter to Durham

The top photos from the LoveDURM contest were posted along the reception desk before the winner was announced. (Staff photo by Rashaan Ayesh)

February and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand with each other. People put a lot of thought into what they want to get their loved ones. But, many people forget about the love they have for the place they live. The Durham History Hub put together LoveDURM to remind people of the love that they have for Durham.

 The History Hub is quite and calm the morning before the opening of the LoveDURM exhibit.

The History Hub is quite and calm the morning before the opening of the LoveDURM exhibit.

Patrick Mucklow, the director of operations at the History Hub, discussed the museum’s Third Friday events. The museum stays open later and works with local businesses and musicians for the monthly event. The goal is to bring people together and enjoy what the museum has to offer.

Because Third Friday is after Valentine’s Day this month, the History Hub decided to hold their Third Friday on the second one instead. The exhibit for the event was LoveDURM, which was designed by a Durham citizen, Matt Lardie.

Mucklow said that the museum has an “Our Bull City” that is inspired by the residents of Durham. If there is a citizen who feels there is a story to tell, then they can work with the museum, who has the resources, to put the exhibit together.

LoveDURM is a photo contest the museum held to encourage people to submit photos through social media. The photo had to be taken in Durham, or in the county, to express why the photographer loves Durham.

“It’s basically a love letter to Durham through photographs,” Mucklow said.

There were over 800 submissions for the contest. About a hundred of those submissions are posted in the “Our Bull City” exhibit area.

When Mucklow described the museum, he said that they focus on stories instead of “things.” There is a story room, so people can share their stories. The room was utilized during the event.

For the event, there was a video kiosk in the story room. People would sit down, and have two prompts to chose from: “Durham, I love you because…” or “Durham, I love you but…” Most people choose the first one. The videos will be posted on YouTube.

“There’s a lot of things I love about Durham,” Katie Spencer, the executive director, said. “It’s a city full of people that get involved and roll up their sleeves and get to work. I have just never known a place that’s like, if you have an idea, go do that,”  “Matt is a perfect example. He was like, ‘Gosh, I feel really down about, kind of what’s going on in the country right now. But maybe, if we share some love for Durham, it’ll lift people.’ Then he did it. He came to us and made it happen. Durham has a lot of citizens like that.”

Matt Lardie is the Durham resident who actually approached the museum about LoveDURM. The results of the presidential election inspired him to approach the museum about the event.

“I was sitting around in November, kind of like many of us, wondering what do we do?,” Laddie Said.” Where do we go next? I had seen someone say make sure you are involved locally. Then I just had this idea, I love the power of social media and photos, this idea of kind of love Durham. Rather than have it be one artist, why not have it be a community curated event? A visual love letter to Durham.”

From then on, Lardie said he approached the museum. Spencer was on board. The entire event took about a month to organize.

“I love that Durham just lets you be whoever or whatever you want to be. Durham welcomes everyone and anyone,” said Lardie.

Reed Terry, a 9-year-old Durham native at the event, was able to simply list the three things he loved about Durham.

“The sweet tea, chocolate and all the sweet stuff,” said Reed. “Unlike what the other states have, this state has sweet tea.”