Last Updated on April 25, 2023
If you’re looking to add some history, color or culture into your life, look no further than the museums in Charlotte. Whether you want to dive into the world of modern art, learn about the rich history of the city, entertain the kids for an afternoon, or get some cool Instagram pictures, Charlotte’s got it all.
Your guide to Museums in Charlotte
Museums for kids in Charlotte
Photo Credit ImaginOn
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center: This unique museum is home to two state-of-the-art theaters which features many performances from The Children’s Theater. ImaginOn also has a full library for kids 11 and under in addition to a teen-only library, classroom spaces, a multimedia production studio, and an interactive exhibit space.
Discovery Place: Discovery Place is a non-profit education organization whose mission is to inspire the exploration of science and the natural world through unique exhibits and educational programs that inform, challenge and engage audiences of all ages. They have three different museums throughout the Charlotte area, each focused on a specific aspect of their mission.
Nature: Discovery Place Nature is located adjacent to Freedom Park. Focused on exploring the beauty of nature, this museum location offers many animal and habitat exhibitions, live shows, and events including alligator feedings, a butterfly pavilion, and planetarium shows every Tuesday.
Science: Discovery Place Science is located in the heart of uptown Charlotte. This space has plenty of options for everyone in the family. IMAX movies, Aquarium tours, fossil digging, an indoor rainforest, live shows, lab dissections are just a few of the many offerings at Discovery Place Science.
Kids: A little outside of the city, Discovery Place Kids is located in downtown Huntersville, NC. Make the most of your visit by viewing the schedule of exhibitions and live shows. Your kids can explore practical and educational experiences such as real-world introductions to different careers, healthy food options, and exercise opportunities with the I CAN series along with live science experiments and puppet shows.
Reed Gold Mine: The first piece of gold ever discovered in North America was found right here in Charlotte. Visit Reed Gold Mine and find some of this gold for yourself! It is no longer a functioning mine, but they are open to the public for tours and gold panning. Tours are free of charge and panning is available April 1- October 31, $3.00 per pan.
History museums in Charlotte
Charlotte Museum of History: The mission of the Charlotte Museum of History is to “interpret and preserve Charlotte’s unique history by enriching the community through shared understanding of the past and inspiring dialogue about the future.” Steward of the 1774 Hezekiah Alexander HomeSite, the Charlotte Museum of History invites you to step into the lives of the 18th century Alexander family.
Matthews Heritage Museum: One of the oldest buildings in Matthews, the 1879 Massey-Clark House invites you to learn about a variety of North Carolina’s history. With many local events and initiatives including a “Little Free Library” mailbox and exhibits on local neighborhoods and towns, the Matthews Heritage Museum is the perfect place to explore and feel rooted in your community.
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African- American Arts + Culture: The mission of the Harvey B. Gantt Center is to preserve and celebrate excellence in the history, art and culture of African-Americans and people of African descent and their contributions to American culture. They do this through a vibrant combination of music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education programs, literature and community outreach.
Historic Latta Plantation: Historic Latta Plantation is a circa 1800 cotton plantation and living history farm located within the 1,343 acre Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC. Here you can experience guided tours of the home, educational and school programs featuring re-enactments and workshops, or a gorgeous backdrop for weddings and other special events. Take some history home with you by purchasing artisan goods, traditional toys, books, and more in the gift shop.
Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium: At the Schiele, you will witness educational displays and experiences including a Hall of North Carolina Natural History, a Dino Safari, wildlife gardens and more! The Schiele is also home to the second largest planetarium in North Carolina.
Art museums in Charlotte
Mint Museum: North Carolina’s first art museum, the Mint Museum has two locations in Charlotte, both overflowing with artistic design excellence in the areas of glass, fiber art, metal, studio jewelry, design, studio furniture, wood art, and clay. They also offer a full calendar of events including pop ups, yoga classes, gallery chats and much more.
New Gallery of Modern Art: The mission of New Gallery is to cultivate the spirit of art collectors in Charlotte through discussions, private exhibition previews, book signings, in-home consultations, loan and purchase programs, and artist conversations.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art: The Bechtler is home to many stunning pieces including works by Miró, Picasso, Warhol, and many others as well as an assortment of mid 20th century modern art. The Bechtler also offers community events such as jazz nights, guest lectures, film showings, summer camps, and family days.
McColl Center for Art + Innovation: McColl Center is a nationally acclaimed artist residency and contemporary art space. In addition to the 5,000 square feet of exhibition space, the McColl center has nine individual artist studios, multiple common spaces and one large studio for sculpture work.
Additional museums in Charlotte
Portal: The Portal is an immersive art experience with interactive exhibits and themed rooms,. Attendees are encouraged to play around in and take photos throughout the displays, dubbing it the “Instagram museum.”
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Visiting the Hall of Fame is the best way to honor and learn about the history and heritage of NASCAR. The museum is home to hands-on exhibits, a 278-person theater, Hall of Honor, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop, NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio.
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