Charlotte Museum of History
Backstory and Context
The Charlotte Museum of History includes the Hezekiah Alexander home and several venues in an eight-acre wooded campus. These venues include a log kitchen, a barn, and a two-story Spring house. The Hezekiah Alexander House is a 5,000 square foot rock home and is the oldest house in Mecklenburg County. It was built around 1774, and is still located in the original spot where it was built.
In the 1940s, the Methodist Home established the house and the surrounding land. In 1949, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) rented the house and attached property from the Methodist Home in order to restore the deteriorated “Rock House.” A committee of all the Charlotte DAR chapters ran the location and kept the house open for periodic visitation. In 1969, this committee established the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation Inc., which was a non-profit organization. The foundation was able to raise over $200,000 in order to restore the house. The foundation, however, did encounter financial difficulties while attempting to build a reception center for the home site.
In 1975, the City of Charlotte completed the building, which opened as the Mint Museum of History on July 3, 1976. The museum and home site were managed by the Mint Museum from 1975 until 1987. During that time, the Hezekiah Alexander Women’s Auxiliary was formed; this Auxiliary raised sufficient funds to furnish the Alexander House with an outstanding collection of antiques. In 1987, organizational responsibility was transferred to the Parks and Recreation division of the City and the museum was then referred to as the Charlotte Museum of History. Throughout these administrative changes, the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation continued to support the home site as well as the museum programs.
On July 1, 1990, the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation regained full administration and support of the museum as well as the home site. The city’s separation agreement stated that the foundation create a two million dollar endowment fund for the operation and maintenance of the museum and home site. The foundation surpassed the requirement, raising over three million dollars.
In 1996, the foundation began to consider the possibility of replacing the 1976 building with a much larger museum to better meet the needs and the expectations of the community. Three years later, the foundation had raised over 7 million dollars and built a new museum that was a total of 36,000 square feet. With the new museum, came a lot of improvements. Three galleries were created on the second floor, and the American Freedom Bell was added later that fall. The grand Opening of the museum was held on October 24, 1999, and the Bell was ring for the first time on December 31, 1999. On February 6, 2002, the foundation officially changed its named to the Charlotte Museum of History, Inc.
The Charlotte Museum of History offers plenty of parking for its visitors in the front of the museum; the parking fee is included in the price of admission. This museum is also ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible. There is an asphalt path available for visitors to take that leads to the American Freedom Bell, the Back country Patriot Statue, and the Hezekiah Alexander House, the Spring house, and the kitchen. Although the various attractions around the home site outside are ADA compatible, the inside of the buildings are not.