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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Murals of North Carolina

The Joseph Palmer Knapp (now Knapp-Sanders) Building (which houses the School of Government) was dedicated over the course of four days from Nov. 27 to Nov. 30, 1960, during which city councilmen, county commissioners, state legislators, and federal congressmen from every district in North Carolina attended the opening ceremonies. Artist Francis Vandeveer Kughler (1901-1970) was present on all four days to discuss the 14 murals he created for the auditorium (all but two measuring 8 feet x 11 feet), showing significant moments in the history of North Carolina as selected by the artist from a list suggested by a committee led by Albert and Gladys Coates. Kughler used Carolinians he knew and other Chapel Hill locals as models for the figures in the paintings. The set of murals has since been split up and relocated; eight remain in various lobbies in Knapp-Sanders.