about us

History

1990: The journey began with one idea shared between Sally Dalton Robinson and Anne Batten, representing the Mecklenburg Historical Association.

1991: Incorporated as Museum of the New South on April 25, 1991.

1992: "Museum Without Walls" placed interactive kiosks and other exhibits around uptown Charlotte.

1994: Under a tent in uptown Charlotte during the NCAA Men's Final Four, the Museum showcased The Most Democratic Sport: Basketball and Culture in the Central Piedmont, 1893-1994.

1995: Emily Zimmern became Executive Director and staff moved into the former Clark Tribble Harris Li building at College and Seventh Streets.

1996: Opened doors to the public using the first floor of the building for temporary exhibits and education programs.

Distinguished Lecturer Series launched with John Hope Franklin, author of From Slavery to Freedom and head of President Clinton's Task Force on Race.

1998: Successfully completed $8.2 million capital campaign. Began renovation and redesign of building for installation of a permanent exhibit.

2000: Became a "Museum on the Move" during the renovation and provided programs throughout the community with temporary offices at 2027 Randolph Road.

2001: On October 13 the Museum re-opened to the public as Levine Museum of the New South, a state-of-the art facility at 200 East Seventh Street in the heart of Charlotte's emerging uptown cultural district.

2002: Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South named one of the best exhibitions in the Southeast in an annual competition sponsored by the Southeastern Museums Conference Curators' Committee.

2003: Museum President, Emily Zimmern named Charlotte Woman of the Year and the Museum unveiled a major new exhibit, COURAGE: The Carolina Story That Changed America, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

2004: Received national recognition for COURAGE and presented renowned political commentator, author, and presidential advisor David Gergen as the Museum’s Distinguished Lecturer.

2005: Opened the exhibit Purses, Platforms & Power: Women Changing Charlotte in the 70s, while COURAGE received two national awards: named one of the two best exhibits in the nation by The American Association of Museums and given the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history by The American Association for State and Local History.

The Museum was also named one of six recipients of the 2005 National Awards for Museum and Library Service, the federal government’s highest honor for community service provided by museums and libraries. The award was presented during a ceremony at the White House by first lady, Laura Bush.

2006: Planned a permanent home for COURAGE and a national tour of the exhibit underwritten by a gift from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

Set single day attendance record on Martin Luther King Day with more than 2,400 free admission visitors.

2007: Received generous grants from the Knight Foundation, Foundation for the Carolinas and The Institute for Museum Services for Changing Places, the Museum’s next big project.

The Museum named Best Place to Take Visitors by Charlotte magazine in addition to receiving other media awards.

2008: Charlie Rose returned to Charlotte for the second Southern Roots, Global Vision panel discussion with Charlotte’s eminent business leaders; Amy Brinkley, Ann Caulkins, Bob Johnson, Cynthia Marshall, Tom Nelson and Ken Thompson.

2009: Launched Changing Places, the Museum’s most ambitious project since inception. The project examined the growing cultural diversity and change created by the arrival of newcomers from across the U.S. and around the globe.  The heart of the project is an exhibit titled Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor and featured a video-talkback booth. Other components of the project included ongoing community programming, adult and teen facilitated dialogue, a project website and a WTVI television documentary.

2011: Museum celebrated its 20th anniversary year with the return of its award-winning exhibit, COURAGE: The Carolina Story that Changed America. To accompany the exhibit the Museum showcased a new component called Para Todos Los Ninos: Fighting Segregation before Brown vs. Board, about the 1946 U.S. Court of Appeals case, Mendez, et al v. Westminster School District, which ended school segregation for Mexican-Americans in then rural Orange County, CA.

The Museum hosted a special 20th anniversary party, Taste of Time that attracted 550 people and raised more than $150,000 for the Museum’s educational and outreach programming.

2012:  Levine Museum chosen to participate in the Innovation Lab for Museums, presented by the American Association of Museums' Center for the Future of Museums and EmcArts and funded by the MetLife Foundation. As part of the Innovation Lab, the Museum partnered with Atlanta History Center and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to create a learning network, and officially launched the Latino New South Project.

In August of 2012, the Museum is awarded a transformative and highly competitive grant of $890,000 from the nationally renowned Kresge Foundation.