Better Than It Looks!
By Jay Whipple/Trend Magazine Online
I visited this place on a whim after I saw the road sign. It was a bright and sunny day in July and I was just out running errands as I did not have any Charlotte Daily City Tours lined up to conduct. It was a bit farther out in the boonies than I expected and when I finally arrived I must admit that my expectations were pretty low in terms of the wow factor. I was, however, very pleased at the price of $5 for entry which also included the Planetarium. The front desk staff was very friendly and cordial and answered all of my pesty questions like how long does it take to go through the whole museum? I was surprised when she said 45 minutes to an hour. From the looks of the front of the building from the parking lot outside I was sure that I would be out in 30 minutes tops.
Before embarking on my historic journey I decided to relieve myself to avoid having to interrupt my musings. The restrooms were indeed clean. I was quite surprised and caught off guard after spending nearly 30 minutes in the first room alone. This room detailed the history of the Northern South Carolina region from the 18th and 19th Century including artifacts and information on the past institution of Slavery which was a big deal in South Carolina. In fact, the State at one point in time had more Slaves than any other in the South. I was really moved to see a pair of Slave shoes that did not have a right or left foot. They had to wear them long enough for their shoes to conform to their feet. This required a bit of organization because they had to remember to wear the same shoe on the same foot each day.
The rest of my museum tour – including the Planetarium – consumed right at two hours. It turns out that the building was a lot bigger on the inside that what it appeared to be looking at it from the parking lot of the front entrance. My favorite part of the tour was this real neat room called the Stans African Hall which included many life-sized statues of animals from Africa. Did you know that there are nine species of giraffe and that their newborns come out at nearly six feet tall? The exhibits were donated to the museum by a local gentleman and his wife and were collected over several decades from their trips to Africa. I could spend two hours in this part of the museum alone. I must admit that I caught a few winks during the Planetarium exhibit just I did as a kid.
This museum is way out in the boonies and one should allow at least half a day to really enjoy the well put together exhibits.
The Museum of York County is located at 4621 Mt. Gallant Road, Charlotte, NC, 29732. Their phone number is 1-800-866-5200 and website is www.chmuseums.org. Tell them that Trend Magazine Online sent you!