History of Charlotte Museum
The Charlotte MuseuThe Museum of History is a history museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. The museum was formed in 1774 to be the steward of the Alexander Rock House, but it has since expanded its purpose to embrace all periods of Charlotte’s history, with exhibitions ranging from the city’s history of music to the experiences of Charlotte troops during World War I.
Mr. Eugene M. Cole, the then-owner of the 1774 Rock House, presented the structure and adjacent farm to the Methodist Church’s Western North Carolina Annual Conference in 1943 for a planned retirement community known as the Methodist Home, today known as Aldersgate. The Daughters of the American Revolution leased the house and some adjacent land from the Methodist Home in 1949 with the intention of preserving it. Renovations began shortly after, with the goal of restoring the Rock House to its 1770s appearance. During this time, the land was open to the public for tours thanks to a committee of DAR chapters. In 1969, the Hezekiah Alexander Home Foundation was established to help with fundraising and restorations for the mansion, finally generating $200,000 to help with the restoration. Despite its success, the organisation was unable to finish a planned neighbouring receiving facility on its own.
The home was placed under the Mint Museum by the Charlotte city council in 1975. Until November 1985, when the Mint Museum completed extension work that allowed all operations to transfer to Randolph Road, the home site was known as Mint Museum of History. The Mint Museum voted on October 13, 1986, to support the city council’s plan to shift the museum to the city’s parks and recreation department. The change was prompted by accusations that the Mint Museum was uninterested in history, but it also allows the Mint Museum to concentrate on fine arts rather than history.
In 1990, the foundation took over management of the house and museum. The city demanded that the foundation raise $2 million, which it did by more than $1 million.
Late in 1993, the Charlotte Museum of History added a 1500-square-foot extension to its 5000-square-foot structure to house its archives and a 5000-piece historical collection that had been scattered across several locations.The foundation began construction on a 36,000-square-foot structure in 1996. The facility was dedicated on October 24, 1999, after a $7 million fundraising campaign. The foundation was renamed Charlotte Museum of History, Inc. in 2002.
The Alexander Rock House and Homesite
The Alexander Homesite was a small plantation that grew crops and raised livestock for food and profit. The site’s major income crop was tobacco, but it also grew corn, peaches, other fruits and vegetables, and textiles including flax and a tiny bit of cotton. Livestock included cattle, hogs and pigs, poultry and turkeys, as well as labour animals such as horses and mules.
There were 12 Alexanders at the Rock House, as well as boarders and visitors, and at least 17 enslaved people whose labour ensured the farm’s profitability. When regarded as a whole, the Alexander Homesite tells the stories of at least 29 separate people.
The Rock House is around 5,000 square feet in size, with a basement and attic. Both sections were used for the same purpose: storage. The Rock House’s stone walls, which are 2-feet thick at their widest point and were made from stone mined on the property, are 2-feet thick at their broadest point. For assembly and planning, a skilled stonemason was required, but his or her name is unknown. The majority of the construction was most likely done by enslaved people.
Early History of the Site
According to artefacts uncovered during archaeological explorations, people have lived on the Museum’s grounds for thousands of years. Although there is no evidence of a permanent habitation prior to the construction of the Rock House in the 1770s, remnants such as stone projectile points and ceramic fragments show that Indigenous people used the region for hunting, making points, and possibly as a short-term encampment.
The Charlotte Museum of History Map
3500 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, NC 28215, United States
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