The Historical Society of North Carolina has met regularly each spring and fall since its organization. The membership was originally limited to seventy-five, but was raised to 100 with a bylaws change approved in the fall of 2013.  A provision made in 1970 for emeritus members also opened the Society to additional active members.

Since 1953 the Society has presented the Robert D. W. Connor award for the best article in the field of North Carolina history or biography in the North Carolina Historical Review for the preceding year. A second award, honoring Hugh T. Lefler, has been presented since 1974 for the best undergraduate paper in North Carolina history. These awards are made during the annual meeting of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.