In 1987, the Museum of World Cultures at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington created the North Carolina Living Treasure award. The award is modeled after a similar program in Japan which holds up for national recognition the creative work of an individual. The award is one of the highest honors given in North Carolina to honor creative excellence. Since 1987, eleven North Carolinians have been honored with the award. Recipients include potters, a boat builder, glass and wood artists, musical instrument makers, and a gunsmith.