Burgwin-Wright House & Museum
Backstory and Context
The Burgwin-Wright house has a long and interesting history. It was commissioned by a wealthy merchant and planter named John Burgwin who had come to Wilmington from England. The home featured three stories with two tiers of white columnns, wide shaded porches and extensive gardens behind the property. It was considered to be a remarkable example of Georgian architecture.
The home was taken and occupied by Lord Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War in 1781. He used the home as his primary headquarters just a few weeks before he was defeated and surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. Throughout the next two centuries, ownership of the home changed multiple times. Many notable families of Wilmington owned the home such as Burgwin’s business partner Charles Jewke and his wife, Ann Grainger Wright and her three children.
The National Society of Colonial Dames of American North Carolina was established in Wilmington in the late 1800s. The NSCDA-NA had a mission to preserve historic properties in the state of North Carolina. They set to acquire the Burgwin-Wright House in the 1930s. They were able to purchase the home in 1937 where they established their headquarters. In 1951 the Burgwin-Wright House was officially opened to the public in 1951.
Many renovations took place over the next few decades in order to keep the property looking new. Every room within the museum is decorated and furnished with antiques and artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries allowing visitors to feel as though they have stepped back in time. There are gardens outside that visitors can stroll through, as well as a kitchen a physic garden that has herbs that were used during the era.
Over the next few decades, countless renovations were made to keep the property looking brand new, as well as the acquisition and formation of the "formal gardens" bordering Market Street. Today, visitors will literally feel like they've simply stepped back in time into a wealthy Wilmington resident's home as they stroll through the pristinely kept rooms and grounds.
Special events including holiday walks, seasonal art shows, and special demonstrations such as cooking in the ancient kitchen are hosted at the Burgwin-Wright Museum. From February through December the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 years and under.