Exhibit chronicles events leading up to the Civil War and its early battles

The North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh has opened the first of three exhibits that explore the state's experience in the Civil War, which began 150 years ago this spring.

"North Carolina and the Civil War: The Breaking Storm, 1861-1862" will be on display through Oct. 29, 2012, and highlights the events leading up to the outbreak of the conflict and its early battles.

Civil War artifacts include the Confederate national flag of the 33rd Volunteers, and a dragoon saber and scabbard (1861-1862) used by Zebulon B. Vance, colonel of the 26th N.C. Troops and later the state's wartime governor. A bugle, snare drum, banjo and flugelhorn are among the musical instruments in this small display.

The second exhibit in the series, which will focus on 1863, opens in 2013.

The N.C. Museum of History is located at 5 E. Edenton St. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: free.

Details: 919-807-7900;