The City of Raleigh Museum dates back to 1993 when the Raleigh City Museum presented its first exhibit. The museum was the brainchild of local historian Beth Crabtree, who noticed that the city had no repository for its historical artifacts. After her death, Mary Cates and other volunteers continued to work on the project. In 1998, the museum moved to its current location, the former Briggs Hardware Store (built in 1874). The City of Raleigh took over operations of the museum in July 2012. Today, the City of Raleigh Museum continues to showcase permanent and temporary exhibits in addition to offering educational programming.
After outgrowing its original store,
the owners of Briggs Hardware, Thomas H. Briggs and James Dodd, began
construction on a new building. Work was completed in 1874, and the new edifice
was deemed Raleigh’s first skyscraper. After Dodd retired from the company, the
hardware store remained in the Briggs family for generations. However, the
upper floors of the building changed purposes many times over the years,
serving as the city’s first Y.M.C.A, the Raleigh Little Theatre, and the State
Museum. In 1994, the Briggs family decided to move their business. The A.J. Fletcher
Foundation and Preservation North Carolina purchased and restored the building
from 1997 to 1998. Today, the Raleigh City Museum resides in the first and
lower floors of the building while private offices occupy the top floors.