WAGRAM — The former Scotland Correctional Center opened its doors on Saturday for tours to learn about the prison’s past and its future.
To bring the history of the prison to life, GrowingChange, the nonprofit working to refurbish the old Wagram prison, has partnered with the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
The project began in 2015 with UNCG student Kimber Heinz when she created a project on prison road camps. The specific project has been featured at the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro.
“The history of this place is just a part of a much larger platform,” Heinz said. “But we really hope that this will help create a museum here.”
UNCG student Lacey Wilson conducted the latest part of the project, looking specifically into North Carolina’s work prisons and what it was like in them. Wilson was able to talk to three former inmates, including one incarcerated at the Wagram prison.
“What I really liked was the relevance of it and the fact that it will be here to help make further changes in the GrowingChange’s mission,” Wilson said. “We also have a continuity with this project because we can keep building off of each other in terms of the history of incarceration, incarceration in North Carolina, these road camps, and the Wagram prison history in general.”
GrowingChange is also working with St. Andrews history professor Dr. David Herr to bring more students to the project.
“I’m really hoping that another student will continue on this project because I came into this project wanting to be useful,” Wilson said.
According to GrowingChange founder, Noran Sanford, the project will eventually turn into a museum on the grounds of the prison as well as having a traveling museum to get the word out about the project.
The museum will be located in the former barracks of the prison and the tours set up part of the exhibit in the area so guests could get an understanding of the idea.
“We have been surprised as to how the history project has taken off as a larger initiative because we originally saw this as a phase three project but it’s turned into a phase one project,” Sanford said.
According to Sanford, the organization is also developing a bus tour to travel to places like farmer’s markets and festivals to sell produce and other items that were created from the project, while using the bus for a traveling exhibit.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171