Hidden Treasures

WALTER goes behind the scenes as PBS’s ANTIQUES ROADSHOW stops at the NCMA in Raleigh to film its 28th season.
by Colony Little | photographs by Laura Wall 

Most visitors come to the NCMA to see artistic treasures on gallery walls or experience outdoor sculptures in the museum park, but this week, the visitors brought the treasures themselves! On May 16th, PBS North Carolina welcomed guests to the museum for a day-long filming of one of its most popular syndicated shows, the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Over 2,000 tickets were awarded to visitors who were invited to bring a guest and up to two items for appraisal. During the course of the day, between 60 and 70 appraisers were on hand specializing in paintings, clocks, dolls, folk art, furniture, toys, rare books, pottery, jewelry… and some things that almost defy categorization altogether.

WALTER received exclusive access to the event to experience the appraisal process first-hand and get a close look at some of the items that will be featured. Nearly 150 items were selected for filming ,which will be eventually edited to make 3 episodes of the show. Taped segments that don’t make the cut for ROADSHOW may be included in an additional “bonus” episode of ROADSHOW content in its newest broadcast segment, cheekily titled Junk in the Trunk

Raleigh is the second stop in the 5-city tour which includes visits to Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Akron, Ohio; Sturbridge, Massachusetts; and Anchorage, Alaska. This tour is part of the ROADSHOW’s 28th season on PBS. 

Executive Producer Marsha Bemko, who has been with the show since season 4, shared with us the secret to the show’s enduring success, which is quite simply, curiosity. “We’re all interested in the same things when we watch this show,” says Bemko, “we all want to understand more about what we own.” And in that discovery process, the stories behind the objects begin to unfold. 

The items we surround ourselves with speak volumes about us. Some of these objects hold history that has traveled with them for generations. Some are valuable, many are junk, but all of them have a story, and those stories are worth more than gold. 

What truly made the day unique were the guests themselves. The air was charged with positive energy and excitement as hopefuls were eager to share the special stories behind what they chose to bring. The WALTER team followed a portrait of a Spanish woman thought to be from the 1700s, a groom doll whose bride mysteriously disappeared, a South Asian temple bell, and a Jacobean throne from the 1700s owned by the WALTER’s Artistic Director Laura Wall.  

(A throne? Yes, a throne.)

Now we know you are wondering if any of these items made it to filming… Of course we can’t say — Season 28 will not air until early 2024. But we can tell you that one of these items made us “flush” with excitement. To learn more, stay tuned for a follow up from us, and in the meantime be sure to catch season 27 of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW currently airing on PBS. 

This article was originally published on waltermagazine.com on May 18, 2023.