Frequently Asked Questions: Levine Museum’s New Direction
As Levine Museum of the New South prepares for a new chapter, we want to invite you in to see our exhibits, check into our online programming, and find us out in the community. While love our uptown home of nearly 30 years, the world is changing for museums. Our mission has never been more important. Our challenge is to find new ways to deliver content in order to achieve that mission. Selling our building provides us the opportunity to transform our programming, to reach more people, and ultimately to find a new home. We invite you to join us as we reinvent Levine Museum, which will continue to connect the past with the future to realize the promises of a New South.
Levine Museum has reached a milestone as we continue to transform our programming and our role in helping Charlotte use history to shape an equitable future for all people. We have sold our property to capitalize on its value and help fund our ongoing transition from a traditional, facility-focused museum to one that builds community through programming delivered digitally, in-person, and in non-traditional spaces – as well as from a new home that better fits our mission.
We have a couple of great examples we will build on. One is our new app KnowCLT , which allows you to explore the history of Charlotte’s people, places and promises. You can access the app from home and on location where the featured history happened, in places such as Charlotte’s former Brooklyn neighborhood that had been a thriving African-American community before it was bulldozed by “urban renewal.” Another example are the Augmented Reality components #HomeCLT and Brooklyn: Once a City within a City. Both are multilayered exhibits you can visit at the Museum uptown.
No, we are going digital-first. Digital-first means we recognize that the first way most people will connect with the Museum is through our web site, social media or an online search. So, it is critical that we create a robust digital presence that gives people information they want and need. Digital technologies also offer us new ways to animate history through place-based experiences, as we’re doing with our walking-tour app KnowCLT, and through immersive onsite experiences. But digital-first does not mean digital-only. We can tell powerful stories through exhibits.
And there is no substitute for in-person gatherings that convene people in dialogue and celebration. So we will continue to offer a central location that tells Charlotte’s stories and provides space for people to convene and connect. In addition, Levine is going out into non-traditional spaces to work with communities to co-create exhibits, experiences, programs and dialogues – in libraries, community centers and other venues.
No, you will still be able to find Levine Museum in the community where we will host exhibits, dialogues, and celebrations, and online, through livestreamed programs and virtual exhibits. We will unveil a pop-up exhibit in Charlotte’s Grier Heights neighborhood this spring. Last summer, in partnership with the City of Charlotte, we launched “KnowCLT”, our first app-based digital walking tour of the Second Ward neighborhood formerly known as Brooklyn. A second digital walking tour, which will take users on an exploration of civil rights history across Uptown, is underway, targeted for release later this year.
We will hold our Family Day celebrations in neighborhoods across the city.
We will relocate our offices to the VAPA Center on North Tryon Street. And our current museum remains open to the public Friday-Mondays through May 15th.
The Board is committed to securing an Uptown location.
Under the guidance of a highly trained museum registrar, we are looking at all of the nearly 8,000 objects in our care to make sure we know which objects were accessioned by the Museum and which objects were borrowed. For those objects we have on loan, we will either attempt to return them to the lenders or, in some cases, ask the lender to allow us to accession them. We will review accessioned objects to ensure there is documentation to demonstrate authenticity and provenance, and to determine whether those objects best belong in our collection or whether they might be more useful to another institution.
Staff will make recommendations to the Board Collections Committee for accessioning and deaccessioning objects, and those the Board Collections Committee will seek final approval from the full Board or the Executive Committee. Throughout the process, we will adhere to the ethics and policies governing collections stewardship established by the American Alliance of Museums.
Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers has served us so well, telling the story of Charlotte’s history, that we have also preserved it digitally.
We have found storage space for the collections we keep, and we look forward to using them to tell Charlotte stories in exhibits, programs, through digital media, and eventually in a new destination experience.