June 16, 2021
As Levine Museum of the New South celebrates its 30th anniversary, we are excited to share some transformational news as we look ahead to our next 30 years.
First, we are grateful to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever, financially and programmatically – in fact, we reached a record number of people in 2020 through digital programming and new technology that has increasingly become a hallmark of our work.
Second, as part of our calling to reach new audiences and deliver non-traditional programming, we have decided to sell our Uptown property to fully embrace our next chapter. This won’t mean any immediate changes and we will continue to deliver the same compelling programming you expect from Levine Museum – now and eventually from a new home and in new ways.
For several years, Levine Museum has engaged in a deep exploration of the future of museums and of our own beloved Levine Museum. The Museum’s mission has never been more important, and if we are to reach broadly across the community, we must imagine new ways to create and deliver content in the digital age. We recognize, too, that we need to work more closely with and in the communities we serve, to ensure all Charlotteans are heard and known. The pandemic gave us time to refine our plans, and we are gratified by the recent endorsement of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which gave us a three-year, $600,000 grant to support our community-centered, digital-first transformation.
After reviewing our options, the Levine Museum Board agreed the best way to achieve our goals is to capitalize on our .7-acre property to support our evolution, and to find a more flexible Uptown facility to serve our mission. We’re told transactions such as this can take up to a year – so there’s still plenty of time to visit Levine Museum in our home at 7th and College streets Uptown.
We are welcoming visitors now and are planning for on-site programs, events and Family Days later this year. In August, we’ll launch our first digital walking tour through the neighborhood once known as Brooklyn via a new Levine Museum app, KnowCLT. The app uses augmented reality to animate the history of Brooklyn as you physically walk the streets of Charlotte’s second ward Uptown, where the largest, most vibrant African American community in the Carolinas thrived until Charlotte’s first wave of “urban renewal” destroyed structures and displaced thousands of residents.
As we celebrate where we’ve been and where we’re going, I want to thank you personally for your friendship and support. You have enabled Levine Museum of the New South to tell everyone’s story, to confront difficult chapters in our shared history honestly, to convene the community in dialogue that fosters empathy and inspires action, and to celebrate Charlotte’s rich cultural traditions. It was with your help that Levine Museum redefined the role a history museum can play in building a stronger, equitable community. Now we are building on that legacy of innovation and commitment to civic engagement to ensure the success of this museum for future generations.
As always, we welcome your feedback as we work together to connect the past to the future to realize the promises of a New South.
President & CEO