Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Charlotte Museum of History is a historical museum dedicated to the study of the American Revolution. While the museum was originally established to serve as steward of the 1774 Alexander Rock House, its scope has since broadened to include all periods of Charlotte’s history, with exhibits ranging from the history of music in the city to the experiences of Charlotte-area soldiers serving overseas during the First World War.
On December 31, 1943, the then-owner of the 1774 Rock House, Mr. Eugene M. Cole, made a donation to the Western North Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, which used the structure and surrounding farm to develop a planned retirement community known as the Methodist Home, which has since become Aldersgate.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) leased the house and some of the surrounding land from the Methodist Home in 1949 with the goal of preserving it for future generations. Renovations began shortly after, with the goal of restoring the Rock House to its original appearance from the 1770s. During this time, a committee of DAR chapters opened the doors to the public and enabled them to explore the site.
The Hezekiah Alexander Home Foundation was established in 1969 to better facilitate fundraising and restorations for the house. The foundation was successful in generating $200,000 to assist with the property’s ongoing restoration efforts. Despite the fact that significant work had been achieved, the foundation was unable to finish a planned receiving center in the area on its own. Residents in Newell were sad that this never came to fruition.
The Mint Museum was established in 1975 after the home was placed under the jurisdiction of the Charlotte city council. Before November 1985, the Mint Museum’s home site was known as the Mint Museum of History. That month, the Mint Museum completed construction on an expansion that would allow all activities to be relocated to Randolph Road. On October 13, 1986, the Mint Museum voted unanimously to support the city council’s plan to transfer the museum’s operations to the city’s parks and recreation department, effective immediately. This was in response to criticisms that the Mint Museum lacked interest in history; nevertheless, the shift would also allow the Mint Museum to concentrate on fine arts rather than history, which would be beneficial.
In 1990, the foundation took over management of the house and museum from the city. After years of being spread over several places, the Charlotte Museum of History finally relocated its archives and its 5000-piece historical collection into a 1500-square-foot expansion to its existing 5000 square foot structure in 1993.
Construction on a 36,000-square-foot facility began in 1996 for the foundation. The facility was dedicated on October 24, 1999, with a total fundraising effort of $7 million. The Charlotte Museum of History, Inc. was established in 2002 as the successor to the Charlotte Museum of History Foundation.