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The Charlotte Museum of History and Hezekiah Alexander Homesite comprise multiple venues on an eight-acre wooded campus in east Charlotte.
The oldest structure, and the reason for the museum’s location, is the Hezekiah Alexander House, a 5,000- square foot rock house. The Hezekiah Alexander House is the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was built circa 1774 and still stands on its original site. The house is accompanied by a reproduction log kitchen, barn, and reconstructed two-story springhouse.
In the 1940s, the Methodist Home acquired the house and the surrounding land. In 1949, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) leased the house and adjoining property from The Methodist Home in order to restore the badly deteriorated “Rock House.” A committee of all the Charlotte DAR chapters ran the site and kept the house open for periodic visitation.
In 1969, this committee formally established the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 non profit organization. The Foundation was able to raise over $200,000 in restoration funds for the house. However, the Foundation encountered financial difficulties while attempting to build a reception center for the homesite. Consequently, in 1975 the City of Charlotte in cooperation with the Mint Museum completed the building, which opened as the Mint Museum of History on July 3, 1976. The museum and homesite were administered by the Mint Museum from 1975 until 1987. During that time, a Hezekiah Alexander Women’s Auxiliary was formed. The Auxiliary raised sufficient funds to furnish the Alexander House with an exceptional collection of period antiques. In 1987, administrative responsibility was transferred to the Parks and Recreation division of the city and the museum was renamed the Charlotte Museum of History. Throughout these administrative changes, the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation continued to support the homesite and museum programs.
On July 1, 1990, the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation regained full administration and support of the museum and the homesite. The City’s separation agreement stipulated that the Foundation create a two million dollar endowment fund for the operation and maintenance of the museum and homesite. The Foundation exceeded the requirement, raising over three million dollars.
In 1996, the Foundation began to explore the possibility of replacing the 1976 building with a much larger museum to better meet needs and community expectations. Three years later, having raised over 7 million dollars, the new 36,000-sq. ft. museum building was complete. An intensive exhibits program had produced three galleries taking the Charlotte/Mecklenburg story from 18th to the 20th century. A changing exhibit space was created on the second floor. Grand Opening was held on October 24, 1999. The American Freedom Bell was added to the museum grounds later that fall and was rung for the first time on December 31, 1999. On February 6, 2002, the Foundation officially changed its name to the Charlotte Museum of History, Inc.
Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215
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