Tar Heels Go Walking

Teaching Our Future The Value of Our Past

For more than 15 years, the Historic Wilmington Foundation has partnered with New Hanover County Public Schools for Tar Heels Go Walking, an educational walking tour for third graders. 

Each year, HWF volunteers lead thousands of students through a tour of our city’s most renowned sites, including Thalian Hall and the New Hanover County Public Library. Through learning about the history of downtown Wilmington, Tar Heels Go Walking introduces the next generation to the concept of historic spaces and engages them in the mission of preserving our built environment—everything that connects us to the past and paves the way to our collective future.

Volunteer as a Tour Guide

HWF is seeking volunteer tour guides to lead our intrepid explorers! Interested? Here’s what you need to know: The Tar Heels Go Walking season runs from September to February, and tours are given Monday through Friday from approximately 9:30am-12pm. Volunteers may sign up for as many tour dates as they’d like! Tours are mostly outdoors, and still run in light rain and high or low temperatures. Guides are asked to be able to safely and comfortably walk the route, which is ~0.75 miles. HWF provides a script, and no prior experience is required! Guides must attend two trainings; details below.

TRAINING #1 (Orientation): Tuesday, August 22 (5-6:30pm) at the NHC Public Library Main Branch (Downtown, 201 Chestnut Street)

Attendees will be given a detailed overview of the program, including plenty of support materials, practice operating our new wireless audio system, and an opportunity to chat with other more experienced guides. HWF will be providing a casual dinner of pizza, salad, and non-alcoholic beverages. Please click here to register, so we know how much food to bring! Attending the training does not commit you to being a volunteer tour guide, but it is a required starting point. Please come even if you’re just a little curious, and invite a friend or two to join!

TRAINING #2 (Practice Tour): Saturday, August 26 (9am-12pm), beginning at the City of Wilmington Fire Dept. Headquarters (801 Market Street)

Attendees will walk the THGW route as a group, while being led by our Executive Director and tour guide extraordinaire Travis Gilbert. Travis will demonstrate ways to facilitate a fun, engaging tour while using audio equipment confidently and navigating safely. We will go inside featured sites, and experience the staff presentations just like on a real tour!

Click on the images (below) to view drawings made by students from Friends School of Wilmington after going on a Tar Heels Go Walking tour!

Click on the images (below) to read some notes from a class of third graders who went on our Tar Heels Go Walking tour!