Who We Are
Where we started and where we are headed
Thirty years ago, Levine Museum of the New South was founded as a history museum that would tell everyone’s story – a radical idea at the time and a radical idea still. We were founded as a place that would use exhibits and programs to confront some of the most difficult issues facing us today in the historical context that deepens understanding, fosters empathy, and inspires action toward a better future.
Long before the practice was commonplace, Levine Museum created exhibitions and programs with, for, and about the diverse communities we serve. Thirty years ago, Levine Museum redefined the role of the history museum in community.
Within our new gallery, we offer rotating exhibitions that explore issues relevant to the history of the greater Charlotte metro area and spark curiosity about our world today. Our exhibitions and public programs welcome all participants to engage deeply with the diversity of our region’s communities through stories of the past that encourage productive dialogue and deepen understanding of critical contemporary issues.
We celebrate history and culture through annual Family Days that honor Dia de Muertos, Three Kings Day, Martin Luther King Day, Juneteenth, and HERstory. Free to the public, these festivals invite thousands of local families to dance, sing, create, eat, and learn about Charlotte’s diverse community.
Levine Museum builds a stronger, more equitable community by connecting people to Charlotte and to each other through history, culture, and celebration.
Our exhibitions and programs foster empathy, ignite dialogue, and inspire action.
Beyond our walls, we are building on the Museum’s legacy of respect for history, for inclusion, for diversity, and for innovation. Digital technologies enable us to extend our reach through online programs that bring critical conversations to audiences nationwide. Digital experiences bring field trip experiences to students who cannot come to visit. And app-based experiences enable us to animate history in the places where history happened, bringing the Museum to the community.
Levine Museum connects us to this place and to each other through stories, dialogue, and celebration, as we seek to build a stronger, more equitable, more just community. We hope to see you soon!
WE CONNECT THE PAST TO THE FUTURE TO REALIZE THE PROMISES OF A NEW SOUTH.
The journey begins with one idea shared between Sally Dalton Robinson and Anne Batten, representing the Mecklenburg Historical Association.
The Museum is incorporated as Museum of the New South on April 25, 1991.
The “Museum” places interactive kiosks and exhibits around uptown Charlotte.
The Museum opens its doors to the first floor of its new building for temporary exhibits and education programs at 200 East Seventh Street, in the heart of Charlotte’s emerging uptown cultural district.
The Museum successfully completes an $8.2 million capital campaign and begins renovation and redesign of the building for installation of a permanent exhibit.
On October 13, the Museum re-opened to the public as Levine Museum of the New South, in a renovated state-of-the-art facility. Its permanent exhibit, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Reinventing Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South is unveiled to the public.
Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South is named one of the best exhibitions in the Southeast in an annual competition sponsored by the Southeastern Museums Conference Curators’ Committee.
The Museum unveils 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.
The Museum opens Purses, Platforms & Power: Women Changing Charlotte in the 1970s, which receives 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.
For its exhibit COURAGE: The Carolina Story that Changed America, the Museum is 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 is presented during a ceremony at the White House by First Lady Laura Bush.
Curated by Eleanor Brawley, Families of Abraham is a photographic narrative exhibit that celebrates life and faith traditions of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim families in the Charlotte area. The exhibit premiered at Levine Museum from December 2006 to May 2007 and traveled around the country including stops at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Duke Chapel at Duke University.
The Museum launches Changing Places, one of the Museum’s most ambitious projects since inception. The project examines the growing cultural diversity and change created by the arrival of newcomers from across the U.S. and around the globe.
The Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary year with the return of its award-winning exhibit, COURAGE: The Carolina Story that Changed America.
The Museum is awarded a transformative and highly competitive grant of $890,000 from the nationally renowned Kresge Foundation.
The experiential exhibition Fighting for Democracy opens based on the lives, actions, and decisions of a diverse group of individuals who fought during World War II and at the same time sought equal rights for their families and communities. The exhibition uses World War II as a case study to begin discussion about how women and minorities have expanded the meaning of “we” in “we, the people.”
LGBTQ: Perspectives on Equality examines LGBTQ history and contemporary issues from national, regional, local, and personal perspectives.
After leading the Museum for two decades, Emily Zimmern retires as President & CEO. Following 16 years of service as the Museum’s first Staff Historian, Dr. Tom Hanchett also announces his retirement.
The Museum introduces former intern Brenda Tindal as the institution’s second Staff Historian.
¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South, created in collaboration with Atlanta History Center and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, aims to engage Latinos of many backgrounds together with non-Latinos, serving as a catalyst for personal reflection, cross-cultural interaction, and community engagement.
The Museum also opens Cedars in the Pines: The Lebanese in North Carolina, 130 Years of History, commemorating the history of Lebanese immigrants who have made North Carolina their home since the 1880s.
Kathryn Hill becomes President & CEO.
Following the death of Keith Lamont Scott, the Museum opens K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace, a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and in Charlotte. The Museum hosts two additional exhibitions: Let Love Reign, a visual representation of committed same-gender couples, features photographs taken by New York-based photographer and former Charlotte resident Catalina Kulczar-Marin; and Camp Greene, an exhibit about Charlotte’s World War I Army camp and its effect on the west side of the city.
Dr. Willie J. Griffin joins the Museum as Staff Historian.
The Museum introduces augmented reality as way to understand the origins of Charlotte’s mobility gap through the lens of its neighborhoods in the exhibit #HomeCLT: People. Places. Promises. The Museum also opens It Happened Here, which builds on the Equal Justice Initiative’s research into the history of lynching across America, situating Mecklenburg County’s two recorded lynchings and the local effort to memorialize the victims within the national conversation.
The exhibit Brooklyn: Once a City Within a City, which explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s largest African American neighborhood, wins the Best Multimedia Project of 2019 from QC Nerve.
COVID-19 closes the Museum to the public from March through August. But through digital programs that include #ShapingCLT, New South for the New Southerner, CataLysT, and a new program, What is it Going to Take?, the Museum attracts more than 40,000 views and reaches a national audience.
The museum announces plan to sell the uptown 7th Street location to help fuel its ongoing transformation from a traditional, facility-focused museum to one reaching new audiences through interactive programs delivered digitally and in non-traditional spaces.
KnowCLT, the Museum’s new free app launches. The first app experience recounts the history of Charlotte’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood through narration, photos, poetry, and the voices of former residents.
After six years of leadership, Kathryn Hill retires as President & CEO.
Levine Museum sells its uptown 7th Street location and re-opens in a new interim location at Three Wells Fargo Center.
The Museum collaborates with Harvey B. Gantt Center to bring the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, Men of Change, to Charlotte. Men of Change profiles the revolutionary men—including Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Kendrick Lamar—whose journeys have altered the history and culture of the country.
Grier Heights: Community is Family, a traveling exhibit developed in collaboration with the Grier Heights Community Center, opens. The exhibit highlights the history and tenacity of Grier Heights, one of Charlotte’s first independent Black communities.