The City of Raleigh Museum
The museum is located in the historic Briggs Hardware building, constructed in 1874.
The museum opened its first exhibit in 1993 and moved to the Briggs building in 1998.
Mary Cates advocated on behalf of the museum, both as a member of the City Council, and as a leading citizen who led a group of volunteers that established the museum. She was inducted to the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2012.
Backstory and Context
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.