In a city like Charlotte, NC, there is certainly no shortage of fun activities to keep you entertained during your visit. But one place we always suggest adding to your North Carolina bucket list is the Charlotte Museum of History. Officially opened in 1999, this 36,000-square-foot museum offers a fascinating look at the history of Mecklenburg County and its inhabitants. If you’re interested to see what you can expect during your visit, take a look at these top 5 reasons to visit the Charlotte Museum of History in NC.
Hezekiah Alexander House
The oldest house in Mecklenburg County sits on the grounds of the Charlotte Museum of History. Believed to have been built in 1774, this historic landmark was home to Hezekiah Alexander, his wife Mary, and their 10 children. After being restored in 1969, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Visitors can step into the past as they enter the home and explore the grounds during their tour, giving a unique first-hand perspective on Revolution-era American life.
American Freedom Bell
Hung in an open rotunda outside the museum sits the majestic American Freedom Bell. The country’s largest ground-level bell, it is 7 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and weighs an impressive 7 ½ tons. It was given to the museum by the Belk foundation to symbolize the heritage of Charlotte and the patriotism of its citizens. The tour guides love to ring the bell for visitors, and you’ll frequently hear its toll echo across the grounds as you explore.
Unforgettable Music Venues of Charlotte
An ongoing exhibit documenting iconic local music venues of days gone by. Learn about places like the Excelsior Club, Charlotte’s first African-American nightclub that hosted famed musicians James Brown, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole. See set pieces from the Double Door Inn, played by rock and roll legends like Eric Clapton and Nirvana. There is even a piece of the wall from Tremont Music Hall, displaying graffiti left by Dave Brockie of Gwar. While these iconic Charlotte cultural spots have closed their doors, the Charlotte Museum of History keeps their legacies alive.
The Backcountry Gallery is a fun and educational exhibit that your kids will love. Teaching visitors about the history of Charlotte with a hands-on approach, it features replicas of dwellings and furnishings from the Colonial Era. Each display immerses children in the lives of various peoples and cultures that called North Carolina their home, from the European settlers to the native Catawba Nation.
Save the Siloam School Project
The Charlotte Museum of History does a lot to give back to the community, working with schools and outreach programs to educate people and preserve historical sites in Mecklenburg. The Save the Siloam School Project is one of their current endeavors. Partially funded by Booker T. Washington, the Siloam School was built in the 1920s to offer free and high-quality education for African-American students in the area. It is one of Charlotte’s last remaining Rosenwald-era schools, and the museum is fighting for its preservation. They have plans to relocate and restore the building and turn it into an exhibit focused on educating people about the lives of African-American families in the rural South. While they still have plenty of work to do and funds to gather before completing this project, it’s a wonderful reason to support the Charlotte Museum of History with your patronage.
These are just a few of the countless reasons to tour the Charlotte Museum of History in NC. Only 30 minutes north you’ll find Davidson Village Inn waiting for you, ready to welcome you back after an exciting day exploring the museum. For more information on the activities and adventures that await you around Davidson, NC, sign up for our free travel guide, and let us do the planning for you!