Using her artistic talent, Natalie Dail is part of the long history of the Civil War gunboat CSS Neuse.
The high school student from South Lenoir High School won a competition sponsored by the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretative Center to create a design for the new Kinston Museum T-shirt.
Museum Site Director Matthew Young and Program Coordinator Rachel Kennedy gave Natalie a gift card and made preliminary arrangements for a personalized tour of the museum for her and her family last week. She will also be recognized on social networks and in a museum publication.
“I was super excited,” Natalie said, remembering the email telling her she won. “It made my day.”
Natalie honed her longtime interest in art through classes at South Lenoir with art teacher Laura Jackson and art classes at Lenoir Community College, where she is taking college courses this year.
Its design greatly simplifies the art on the current museum T-shirt. It includes an anchor, nautical rope and a front view of the gunboat, all framing the words “CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center, Kinston, North Carolina”.
The competition was open to all residents of Lenoir County, but Kennedy insisted that students participate. A committee made up of community members, museum staff and local artists chose the winner.
“When the judges saw his drawing, they all said it was that one,” Kennedy said.
The new T-shirt should be on sale by Christmas, according to Young. It will be available in the museum’s gift shop at 100 N. Queen St.
The CSS Neuse was an armored steam ram of the Confederate States Navy that served in the latter part of the Civil War and was eventually scuttled to avoid capture by Union Army forces advancing on Kinston. The remains of its hull were salvaged from the Neuse in the 1960s and became the centerpiece of a state historic site in 1964. The hull was moved to the Downtown Museum in 2012.