New in the collection: Store door stickers

Two stickers featuring Joe Camel, a camel smoking a cigarette.

Ah, Joe Camel. Once you were everywhere — from convenience-store doors to playing cards to koozies. By 1997, however, public criticism and relentless litigation led RJR to end your reign.

Why do Joe Camel and other cheesy tobacco ephemera deserve a place in the North Carolina Collection? Take it away, Emily Jack!

New in the collection: Unconvention pinback

Pinback with image of an elephant and the words "Charlotte 2020 Republican National Convention"

“It wasn’t long ago that President Donald Trump foresaw accepting the Republican nomination for president for a second time in front of a roaring crowd.

“Instead, the Republican National Convention will be a far more scaled-back affair, with an even smaller crowd than what was initially — and even more recently — planned for Trump’s celebration.

“The coronavirus thwarted plans to pack a North Carolina sports arena with red-clad supporters, and left Republicans with a pared-down gathering across two cities that will include a mix of prerecorded content from  Washington, D.C.

“While Charlotte was expected to hold the full convention this year, after being selected more than two years ago, those plans were abruptly altered by the president. Trump’s desire for a boisterous celebration in the middle of a pandemic led to him briefly move his acceptance speech to Jacksonville, Florida, before the coronavirus once again forced those plans to change.

“The convention is set to take place over four days — with Charlotte hosting official business — culminating in Trump formally accepting the nomination from the White House on Thursday night.”

— From “Split between 2 cities, Trump to accept nomination from White House” by Kendall Karson and Terrance Smith at ABC News (Aug. 23, 2020)

New in the collection: Reidsville beer pennant

Pennant with Miller High Life logo and the words, "it's Miller Time in Reidsville"

“If you have a can of Miller beer in the refrigerator, there is a pretty good chance you have a product of Ball Corp.‘s Reidsville can plant. Not the beer, but the can itself.

“Ball, the world’s largest beverage can maker, has owned the plant since 1998. It employs 187 people [and] produces 1.8 billion recyclable aluminum cans a year….”

— From “Ball’s can plant in Reidsville” in the Greensboro News & Record (May 22, 2011)

“In 2015, MillerCoors announced it would close the brewery [in Eden] and lay off the 500 or so people who worked there.

“Then, in 2016, Ball Corp., which had made the cans and packaging for MillerCoors, said it would close its plant in nearby Reidsville in mid-2017.”

— From “The Downsides of ‘Efficiency’ “ by Alana Semuels in the Atlantic (March 2, 2017)

From happier times, this celebratory souvenir pennant.

New in the collection: matchbook from Melton’s

Matchbook with copy promoting barbecue available by mail order and fixed by R.B. "Bob" Melton

“Born and raised on a Nash County farm, Bob Melton [discovered] his true calling at age 50. Bob, who had ‘been cooking’ since he was 12, started selling barbecue in 1922 using cooking pits along the banks of the Tar River in Rocky Mount. Two years later he built his first restaurant, which became the first indoor sit-down BBQ restaurant in North Carolina. He specialized in whole hog with a vinegar-based sauce and sides of slaw and Brunswick stew.

Matchbook with photo portrait of R.B. "Bob" Melton.

“Over the years Melton’s put Rocky Mount on several culinary maps. In 1958 Life magazine called Bob the ‘King of Southern Barbecue.’
— From Robert “Bob” Melton,  Twin County Museum & Hall of Fame

Melton died in 1958, but the restaurant survived until being destroyed by flooding from hurricanes Fran in 1996 and Floyd in 1999.

Though modest in appearance, this matchbook seems to have been from the advertising medium’s golden age — the 1940s and ’50s.