A Visit To The North Carolina Museum of History

North Carolina Museum of History

Even with the random warmer days this winter, the cold ones we are getting have kept me indoors. The recent cold rains ran me into the North Carolina Museum of History to check out the newest exhibit, “The Story of North Carolina.” I read about its opening back in November and have finally made it over to see it. The new exhibit challenges history buffs and can entertain everyone else.

Plenty of North Carolina’s history is represented from all areas of the state. As you walk through the exhibit, you are walking through a timeline that starts around 14,000 years ago. The museum website describes it best as:

More than 14,000 years of the state’s history unfold through fascinating artifacts, multimedia presentations, dioramas, and hands-on interactive components. Additionally, two full-size historic houses and several re-created environments immerse museum visitors in places where North Carolinians have lived and worked. Yet the heart of The Story of North Carolina focuses on the people — both well-known and everyday citizens — who shaped the Tar Heel State.

The two houses, one being the state’s fourth oldest, offer a glimpse into the past as they are furnished in a way to represent how they could have looked at a certain period in time.

North Carolina Museum of History

The models are detailed, the visuals are impressive, and there is enough audio and visual information to keep anyone interested. I liked hunting for random facts such as the fact that the nation’s first gold cold was minted in North Carolina in the 1830s. Back then, the state had $1, $2.50 and $5 gold coins as well.

North Carolina Museum of History

For the readers here in Raleigh, there is plenty of events that took place here in the capital. I recommend a visit sometime this winter if you’re ever stuck without plans on a dreary day.

Hey, it’s also free.

The North Carolina Museum of History
5 East Edenton St., Raleigh, N.C.
Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.

There are also a few more photos on Facebook.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

One of the big downtown attractions is the Museum of Natural Sciences. Some of the wildlife facts you will read here make North Carolina pretty significant. For example, the only place in North America that emerald is mined is here, which is actually rarer then gold. We also have the highest density of salamander species then anywhere else on earth.

The museum has four floors of exhibits covering the piedmont, mountains, and the coast. What looks to be the main attraction here is the Acrocanthosaurus skeleton on the third floor. The skeleton and the skull are the most complete ones ever found. The real skull is not in the picture below but housed in a display case right outside. Make sure and see this exhibit next time you are there.

Admission is FREE!
NCMNS Website
Hours: Mon-Sat: 9 am – 5 pm
Sun: noon – 5 pm
Address: 11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27601

EnviroCon: Green Square Project Moving Forward

Here is a sleeper project that I think is not talked about much. The Green Square project will involve two new buildings and a parking deck on the south side of Jones St. between Dawson and Salisbury St. The billboards placed around the site give the following details:

  • Headquarters for the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • The Nature Research Center, an expansion of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences
  • Visitor and employee parking deck
  • Retail store and restaurant

They also mention the following actions in the near future:

  • Sustainable demolition of three existing buildings
  • Reuse of demolition materials
  • Recycling of construction material
  • Applied energy-efficient building technology
  • Monitoring for potential wind and solar energy
  • Monitoring for rainwater retention and runoff

A friend of mine is involved in a small aspect of this project and he told me that these buildings will be coming down very soon. So for those that want to see these brick boxes for one last time, you better make your way out there. Here are the three buildings being demolished and an area map in Google.

View Larger Map

From what I’ve heard about this project is that both buildings will be connected with a walkway over McDowell St. The Nature Center will also be connected to the existing Natural Science Museum with its own glass walkway over Salisbury St. There are no new renderings available except this one on the city’s Livable Streets website, which may be a little old.

Looks like this old rendering during “Bugfest 2004” supports some of the stated bullets. You can see a couple wind generators and lots of green rooftops. The rumor is that these buildings are seeking a Gold LEED standard. I really doubt that a couple of wind generators will be running this building; these will probably be on display as part of the museum. Just my guess though.

At this point, the only thing I’m curious to know about is the parking deck. Will it be well placed behind the office buildings such as The L? If it is put directly next to the sidewalk, will it have retail space on the street? We’ll wait and see.