Post by Tony Hankerson
Raleigh, North Carolina was recently ranked as the Best City in America for many reasons. The social scene is amazing, there are many great restaurants, and there are many great schools in the area (the best being North Carolina State University. Go Pack!). However, one huge contributor to this honor is the number of museums Raleigh has to offer. The choices are astounding, ranging from art museums to science museums, as well as museums dedicated to history. Best of all, a lot of them are completely free of charge (great for date nights, ladies and gentlemen). In this blog, I’ll tell you about a few of my personal favorites.
The North Carolina Museum of Art is a fantastic museum located about 30 minutes by bus from Central Campus (only 9 minutes if you drive). Its collection is extensive, containing artwork from Africa, Italy, Egypt, and more. A recent visit to the NCMA had me for almost 2 hours, as I was completely amazed by the amount of art that the museum boasts. Even more impressive is the fact that viewing the permanent collection is completely free, though special events, classes, and performances do require payment. Photography is allowed in the permanent collection, as long as there’s no flash involved and as long as the photographs are for noncommercial use. One of my personal favorite sections of the museum has a lot of really interesting sculptures. Here’s one that I find to be one of my favorites.
It’s entitled Diana and Actaeon, and it was made by American Artist Paul Howard Manship. It illustrates the classical myth of the great hunter Actaeon and the goddess Diana, who turns Actaeon into a deer. This is one of the many quirky pieces that one can enjoy in the museum.
There is also an amazing outdoor area surrounding the museum called Museum Park. It has trails which lead to many outdoor installations and also has areas for picnicking. Overall, it’s a very calming place to visit.
Open Monday-Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm and Sunday from 12 pm until 5 pm, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is an awe-inspiring museum focusing, of course, on science and nature. It has four floors with exhibits related to different biomes and regions of North Carolina, including Prehistoric North Carolina, underground North Carolina, and to groupings of creatures, such as arthropods, snakes, and more. There’s a lot of really cool exhibits to see here.
The Gregg Museum, which recently relocated to the old Chancellor’s Residence on Hillsborough Street, is North Carolina State’s on-campus museum. Collecting great artwork from all over the world, the Gregg has many great exhibitions and events. For example, here’s Art Outside the Box, an event which I volunteered in this past fall. That’s actually another great thing about the Gregg. There are often volunteer positions available for those passionate about the arts.
Well, there you have it! Those were some of my personal favorite museums Raleigh has to offer. Now, there are many great choices that I didn’t mention, like NCMH and CAM, but these museums are also very popular. I recommend that when you become a student at State (or even when you’re just visiting Raleigh), that you should check out the museums our city has to offer.