Museums of History, Art and Nature
While in Charlotte, North Carolina I decided to visit a few of their museums. At first I was shocked by the amount as well as the diversity of museums from history to art to nature, the city offered, many right downtown.
One museum that I stumbled upon while heading to y favourite café was the Wells Fargo History Museum. Immediately drawn to the vividly red Wells Fargo stagecoach that stood on display in the front window, I read the sign saying FREE admission and thought how could I not take advantage of that!
The company was started by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo on March 18, 1852 and offered banking and other services to Gold Rush pioneers. Wells Fargo has a strong, rich history and this small museum showcases some interesting artifacts like the treasure box, antique cameras and a stunning silver, ‘modern’ handbag as well as interactive exhibits like being able to have your face printed on currency (for free) and even riding in a stagecoach that has video streaming inside through the windows of a simulated ride through the woods like back in the day. But of course the main piece was their iconic, red stagecoach that symbolized their message, “together we’ll go far.”
It’s safe to say that before visiting the charming Wells Fargo History Museum all I knew about the company was that it dealt with banking, but I left with a better appreciation for their forward thinking minds as well as a free Wells Fargo token.
Located just outside the downtown in Freedom Park I found the Charlotte Nature Museum. First and foremost this is a great place for kids to learn about and experience nature. There are an assortment of interesting and interactive exhibits for kids, inside and outdoors. Here you’ll learn about and see up close some of the local wildlife from owls – one of which was swallowing it’s lunch whole during my visit – to snakes and turtles.
My favourite part was the trails outside that are only accessible through the museum. Full of birds singing their songs and playful gray squirrels, the trails were full of life.
One museum that always intrigued me every time I happened by it was the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. What drew me in most was ‘The Firebird” statue that stood guard over the museum’s treasures.
The Bechtler family has a long history of interest in art and over 70 years Hans and his wife Bessie amassed a diverse collection. Their passion for art was passed on to their children. Their son, Andreas, through business came to live in Charlotte and with his collection and that he had acquired from his parents, with the help of the city, created Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
I was surprised and delighted by the diverse collection from sculptures to detailed drawings and even textiles by Picasso. And though I am far from an art aficionado I found the museum quiet, refreshing, though provoking and inspiring – all a good art museum should be.
Which Charlotte Museum is your favourite?