About Us

Mission Statement

The Division of State History Museums collects and preserves artifacts and other historical materials relating to the history and heritage of North Carolina in a local, regional, national, and international context to assist people in understanding how the past influences the present.

The division interprets history through exhibitions, educational programs, and publications available to the visitor on-site or through distance-learning technologies.

A Message from Our Director

Greetings from the North Carolina Museum of History! The state of North Carolina is widely known as the place where the Wright brothers made history in 1903 by achieving the first powered, controlled flight in a craft heavier than air. But did you know that North Carolina has seen a number of other important firsts?

  • First attempted English settlement in the New World: England established a colony on Roanoke Island in 1587.
  • First child born of English parents in the New World: Virginia Dare was born on Roanoke Island in 1587.
  • First state university in the United States: The University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, was chartered in 1789 and opened to students in 1795.
  • First gold rush in the United States: Gold was found in Cabarrus County in 1799.
  • First African American to serve in the U.S. Senate: Hiram Rhodes Revels, who represented Mississippi, was born in Fayetteville in 1827.
  • First African American woman in the United States to receive a B.A. degree: Mary Jane Patterson, who was born in Raleigh, graduated from Oberlin College in 1862.

People have lived in North Carolina for more than 14,000 years! From the influences made by ancestors of today's eight state-recognized American Indian tribes to the first attempted English settlement in the New World to our own lives in the 21st century, the Old North State has a history filled with heroes, visionaries, entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, and everyday people.

Even legendary figures, such as the notorious pirate Blackbeard, First Lady Dolley Madison, adventurer Daniel Boone, Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald, Lumbee folk hero Henry Berry Lowry, educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown, evangelist Billy Graham, and basketball great Michael Jordan, have called North Carolina home over the years.

At the North Carolina Museum of History, we are committed to creating a place where you can explore, learn, and enjoy programs, events, and exhibitions that celebrate North Carolina’s past, present, and future. I am delighted you have chosen to visit our website and look forward to welcoming you to our museum.

Join us at the North Carolina Museum of History, because “History Happens Here.”

Ken Howard