Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
Nominations Open for:
In Memoriam:
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

The newly-opened NASCAR Hall of Fame is just a short wander from the Charlotte Convention Center. It provides a dramatic setting for old and new race cars, memorabilia, and hands-on exhibits.

Photo/Barbara E.R. Lucas

Museums of Uptown Charlotte

Allison Stedman

Despite its reputation as a banking town, Charlotte is home to some of the East Coast’s most interesting and unusual museums, many of which are within walking distance of the Charlotte Convention Center, site of the USITT 2011 Annual Conference & Stage Expo, and selected USITT hotels.

Attached to the Convention Center is the recently opened NASCAR Hall of Fame, an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. Designed for race fans and non-fans alike, the 150,000 square-foot museum includes a 275-person state-of-the-art theatre, the NASCAR Hall of Honor, the Sport’s Avenue Retail outlet, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, and the NASCAR Media Group-operated broadcast studio.

For those interested in learning more about the regional heritage of the southeastern United States and its diverse inhabitants, The Harvey B. Gantt Museum for African-American Arts and Culture and the Levine Museum of the New South are not to be missed. While the Gantt Museum is home to the John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American art, the Levine Museum features an interactive history devoted to the lives and lifestyles of the men, women, and children, black and white, rich and poor, residents and newcomers, who have helped to shape southern society since the Civil War.

Only a few blocks away from the Levine are the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film. Once the private collection of the Bechtler family of Switzerland, the museum features examples of some of the 20th century’s most important American and European art movements and includes works in various media by such artists as Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Joan Miro, and Jean Tinguely. Located in Spirit Square at the intersection of North College and East Seventh Street in Charlotte’s Center City, the Light Factory is one of only four museums devoted to photography and film in the United States. Founded in 1972 as a Photographer’s Cooperative, today the museum features large-scale exhibitions of photography and digital video art, and provides free screening space to independent filmmakers from around the world.

Farther south, and easily accessible by the Charlotte Lynx light rail, is the McColl Fine Art Gallery, one of the premier art galleries in the southeast. Specializing in fine European and American painting from the 19th and early 20th century, the McColl houses works of exceptional quality from the Hudson River School and the Barbizon School, as well as examples of Academic painting, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism.

A short cab ride away, but well worth the trip, are the Charlotte Museum of History and the Mint Museum of Art’s second location.

A trip to the The Mint’s downtown location, slated to reopen October 1, will be offered as a special Regional Event on the Tuesday before the start of the 51st Annual Conference & Stage Expo.

While the Museum of History features programs and exhibits on the people, buildings, stories, and objects related to the region’s history, the Mint Museum is home to more than six impressive collections devoted to Ancient and Native American Art, American Art, Contemporary Art, Decorative Art, and Fashion. The Mint’s Historic Costume and Fashionable Dress Collection, established in 1972, is one of the museum’s most impressive acquisitions, totaling nearly 10,000 items and spanning three centuries of fashion history.

To Top