The Charlotte Museum of History is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization that interprets and preserves Charlotte’s unique history, enriching the community through shared understanding of the past and inspiring dialogue about the future.
The Museum is the steward of the ca. 1774 Hezekiah Alexander Home Site, a National Register of Historic Places site, and places an emphasis on the settlement of the Carolina Backcountry and the ideas and events that led to the American Revolution. The Alexander House is the last extant home of a framer of North Carolina’s 1776 Constitution and Bill of Rights and the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County. In addition to the house, the Alexander home site contains a reproduction log kitchen, reconstructed two-story springhouse and log barn.
To engage the community in the history of our region through exhibits, programming, dialogue, stories and preservation.
- Fiscally responsible operations.
- Inclusivity and outreach to Charlotte’s diverse communities.
- Engaging, interactive educational programs.
- Collaboration and community partnerships.
- Focus is external, on the customer and the community.
- Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit.
- Accountability, with measured outcomes and impacts.
- Strong stewardship of entrusted resources.
- Preservation of the Hezekiah Alexander Home Site as an important historical site and powerful setting for educational programming, and preservation of Charlotte’s built environment as a significant cultural resource.
The museum engaged PMA Consulting, LLC, to lead a comprehensive strategic planning process to determine strategic issues, build consensus around long-range goals, create alignment between the museum and its stakeholders, and develop an actionable plan for growth and development. Click here to download the strategic plan.
The Charlotte Museum of History and Hezekiah Alexander Home Site 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 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, the 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 501(c)3 nonprofit 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 home site. 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 home site 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 home site 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 $2 million endowment fund for the operation and maintenance of the museum and home site. The foundation exceeded the requirement, raising more than $3 million.
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 more than $ 7 million, the new 36,000-square-foot 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. A grand opening was held 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.