The 5 Best Historical Exhibits in Charlotte

If you’re a history buff who’s searching for a home among Charlotte real estate, you’ll be happy to learn that the city has lots to offer when it comes to historical attractions. In between touring homes, or once you’ve moved in, be sure to check out its top offerings.

Reed Gold Mine Historic Site

The very first documented discovery of gold in the U.S. happened right here in Charlotte. The Reed Gold Historic Site marks the spot where the whooping 17-pound gold nugget was found, sparking the first gold rush – some 50 years before California’s. Here you can experience the history of the mine by taking a guided tour to explore restored portions of underground tunnels and view exhibits of historic mining equipment and gold. You can even enjoy panning for gold yourself too.

Charlotte Museum of History

The Charlotte Museum of History features multiple historic buildings, including the country’s oldest surviving house. The 5,000-square-foot rock dwelling known as the Hezekiah Alexander House was constructed in 1774 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll be able to tour the home led by guides dressed in period-appropriate clothing as well as a reproduction of a separate log kitchen and reconstructed two-story springhouse that was primarily used for food preservation. A natural spring with temperatures hovering around 55 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year is still flowing over the bedrock, which allowed settlers to keep perishables cool. There are also a wide variety of exhibits that span three galleries documenting the history of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County from the 18th- to 20th-centuries.

President James K. Polk Historic Site

Set upon land once owned by the parents of the eleventh U.S. president, James K. Polk, this historic site commemorates significant events in his administration, including the Mexican-American War, the annexation of California and the Oregon boundary dispute. You’ll be able to view reconstructions of typical homestead structures like a log house and barn that contain authentic furnishings from the period as well as exhibits that reveal more about Polk’s life, family and presidency.

North Carolina Transportation Museum

This museum sits within a renovated train repair center and encompasses the history of various types of transportation used in the area from the early 19th-century through today. Visitors can even take a train ride during the warmer months of the year and purchase hard-to-find collectible trains in the gift shop.

The Levine Museum of the New South

The Levine Museum focuses on events, places and people in the South from the Civil War period through today. The "Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers" exhibit provides an in-depth look at post-Civil War history featuring over 1,000 artifacts, photographs, videos and oral histories. There are lots of fun, interactive exhibits, including the opportunity to feel a pile of seed cotton, walk down a historic main street, step into a one-room tenant farm house and more. After viewing, you can purchase books related to the city and exhibits in the museum as well as locally-made items in the museum store.

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