Raleigh, NC

Top 3 Museums to visit in Raleigh, North Carolina

Haris Mohammad

Skyline of Raleigh from the Boylan Bridge.Elijah Mears/Unsplash

Raleigh. Also known as “The City of Oaks.”

Founded in 1792 as North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh is among the fastest-growing cities in the United States today. The city’s natural beauty, parks and lakes, fascinating museums, good food, and southern hospitality attract more than fifteen million visitors every year.

If you plan to visit the city or are already there and thinking about exploring it, here are some of the best museums to visit in Raleigh.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Eremotherium fossil at the Museum.Qualiesin/Wikipedia

Established in 1879, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the oldest and largest museum of its kind in the southeastern United States.

The museum comprises two buildings — the Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center — containing dozens of exhibits.

The Nature Exploration Center focuses on “North Carolina’s diverse and beautiful natural habitats and inhabitants, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, from prehistoric beasts to amazing arthropods.”

Inside the building’s exhibits, there are fossils, including dinosaurs and an extinct giant ground sloth, dioramas of various wildlife and artifacts pertaining to nature in North Carolina, living plants and animals, and more. The building even has a 3D theatre.

The Nature Research Center is more about the tools, techniques, and people behind the science and research. It offers you an amazing and rare opportunity to watch Museum researchers studying the natural world in real-time. It’s a great way to boost both your curiosity and understanding of the subject.

Overall, an excellent museum with thoughtful and interactive exhibits. A must-visit if you are in Raleigh.

North Carolina Museum of History

Uniform of a World War I and II Veteran from Asheville.Instagram/ncmuseumhistory

Located in downtown Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of History is another fascinating museum in the city that is over a hundred years old. It was established in 1902.

The museum boasts more than 150,000 artifacts representing centuries of the state’s rich history — including military history, sports heroes, decorative arts, and more.

The museum’s most prominent exhibit is The Story of North Carolina, which tells the story of life in North Carolina from its earliest inhabitants through the 20th century through fascinating artifacts, multimedia presentations, dioramas, and hands-on interactive components.

Another highlight of the museum is the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, featuring more than 200 items representing 363 Tar Heel sports heroes. The mementos include Richard Petty’s race car, Dale Earnhardt’s fire suit, Arnold Palmer’s Ryder Cup golf bag, Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem Globetrotters basketball uniform, football star Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice’s jersey.

There’s a nice gift shop too if you would like to get a souvenir.

North Carolina Museum Of Art

Situated on the Blue Ridge Road, the North Carolina Museum Of Art houses a rich collection of works of art traversing 5,000 years of human history.

As mentioned on the museum’s website, its collection includes European paintings from the Renaissance to the 19th century, “ Egyptian funerary art, sculpture and vase painting from ancient Greece and Rome, American art of the 18th through 20th centuries, and international contemporary art.”

The museum is also known for its collection of African, ancient American, and Oceanic art and Jewish ceremonial objects.

The museum’s most popular exhibit (arguably) is the Golden Mummies of Egypt

Visitors also love exploring the 164-acre museum park that showcases a number of prominent works of art. The park also has trails for walking and cycling.

A good way to spend a few hours. 

So these were a few of the museums you must visit if you’re in Raleigh. I must add that due to the pandemic, some sections might not be open, or there could be certain restrictions. So make sure you do the necessary research before visiting.

Also, please follow the guideline. Have fun but stay safe.

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