6 Popular Museums to Visit in Durham, North Carolina (2023)
Durham is the county seat of Durham County and is a city in the state of the U.S. of North Carolina. Apart from being a college town, this place has a lot to offer. Durham is also known by its nicknames – city of medicine and bull city. It is a great destination for tourism as it has various visiting places, and each place has a unique past and culture. Durham has some of the really great museums in North Carolina if you want to dig deeper into the history of any region. This city has museums which will fit the interests of children too making it a perfect place for family outing. We have gathered some of the best museums in the city of Durham below, where you can spend quality time with your pals, family as you explore them.
6 Popular Museums to Visit in Durham, North Carolina
So, if you’re planning to visit Durham anywhere soon then definitely keep on reading this article.
1. Museum of Life and Science:
The Museum of Life and Science was formerly known as the North Carolina Children’s Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science. It was established in 1946 and the president of the museum is Carrie Heinonen. It is located on West Murray Avenue north of downtown Durham. The museum of life and science is a natural science museum which is scattered over 84 acre of land and features many hands-on exhibits. The museum comprises plenty of attractions in several buildings. Some examples are the main building, dinosaur trail, Catch the Wind, a magic wings butterfly house, Bioquest, farmyard, Explore the Wild, indoor exhibits, earth moves, outdoor exhibits, Hideaway Woods, sprout cafe, and the 2 ft narrow gauge Ellerbe Creek C.P. Huntington train ride. It was reconstructed in the early 1990s. Since after the reconstruction, the southern tract is largely devoted to administrative buildings and parking. The main attractive thing about this museum is its Aerospace exhibit in which various NASA space programs artifacts. Everything about this museum of life and science will leave you amaze.
Best time to visit Museum of Life and Science: It opens from Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 5pm. It remains closed on Monday.
2. Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University:
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is located on campus drive of the university. The Nasher Museum is recognized and considered to be a place that “raises the culture bar” on the campus of colleges along with some other places such as Princeton’s Art Museum and Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art. It is named after Raymond Nasher and was opened in 1969 and was completed in 2005. The total cost that was incurred for its construction is $24 million. Consisting of thirteen thousand works ranging from contemporary art to antiquity, this museum is one of the best art museums in Durham. The museum’s collection includes medieval art, 3,300 Pre-Columbian art objects, works on paper, and much more. Apart from the permanent collection of the museum, it also hosts temporary exhibits and events such as Free Family Day and music concerts. The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is a must visit for all the art lovers out there. Another great thing about the museum is that the museum can be rented for parties, weddings, and corporate events. No admission fees are charged here. On Thursday and Sunday, public tours are held, and private group tours can be made available on any day.
Best time to visit Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University: On Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Thursday: 10am to 9pm, Sunday: noon to 5pm. It remains closed on Monday.
3. Stagville State Historic Site:
Stagville State Historic Site is made up of buildings of one of the largest plantations in the American South, Stagville Plantation. The plantation and the buildings were owned by Bennehon-Cameron from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century. Located on Old Oxford Highway, it comprises 30,000 acres of land and was home to almost nine hundred enslaved African Americans in 1860.The exhibit here centers the experiences of enslaved people on the largest antebellum plantation in the state. This historic site offers guided tours three times a day, you can also take self-guided tours. But it is recommended that you take guided tours as they will explain to you each and every bit about the historic site which you won’t be able to do properly by on your own. In addition to it, the guided tour only costs $1 for children and $2 for adults.
Best time to visit Stagville State Historic Site: On Sunday and Monday, it remains closed. Tuesday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm.
4. Museum of Durham History:
To learn the interesting histories and incredible tales of the city’s people, places, and simple things that foster and create curiosity, you should definitely pay a visit to the Museum of Durham History. The museum displays a gallery on Durham stories, an exhibit on Durham’s historic timeline. It also has plenty of information on Durham’s historical sites as the sole reason for creating this museum is to let other people know about the history of the city and its communities. About 150 faces of Durham are held by the museum. Free admission is allowed. If you’re in the city of Durham, then your trip won’t end without visiting this museum.
Best time to visit Museum of Durham History: Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Sunday: 1pm to 5pm. Another thing to note is that the museum opens late on the Third Fridays.
5. Oriental Museum:
The Oriental Museum’s old name was Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art and Archaeology. It is the museum of Durham University in England. The curator of the museum was Craig Barclay and was established in 1960. The museum was founded due to the increase in the need to house the collection of Oriental artefacts used by the School of Oriental Studies. The museum has a collection of more than 23,500 Chinese, Indian, Korean, Egyptian, Japanese, and other far east and Asian artefacts. A national award called “The Bronze Hear by Right” was presented by the National Youth Agency to the museum in March 2012. They also conducts several events on daily basis. If you want to discover the cultures of the orient, then this is the place that you cannot skip. You are required to book the tickets two hours before the time slot and then the entrance will be free of cost.
Best time to visit Oriental Museum: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 10am to 5pm, Thursday: 10am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday: 12pm to 5pm. It remains closed on Monday.
6. Bennett Place Historic Site:
Bennett Place Historic Site is among the best museums for you to visit in Durham, if you consider yourself a history geek. It was built in 1789. It was added to National Register of Historic Places on February 26, 1970. General Joseph Johnson marked the end of the Civil War by meeting with Union General William Sherman. Here you can visit the room where these both have met in reality. To show the ordinary Southern farmer lived during the Civil War era, simple farmhouse, smokehouse, and kitchen house owned by James and Nancy Bennett were reconstructed. It also contains monuments, a museum gallery, and outdoor exhibits for guests to explore. One to two hour is enough for you to explore the Bennett Place Historic Site. No entry fees are charged but donations are always welcome. It is a small place but absolutely an incredible piece of Civil War history
Best time to visit Bennett Place Historic Site: It remains closed on Sunday and Monday. Opens from Tuesday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm.
These are some of the best museums that you can find in Durham, North Carolina. Be sure to visit these museums the next time whenever you are here with your family or friends, where you can enjoy, as well as become more informative about everything these museums have to offer. Hope this article gave you an insight about the top famous museums in Durham.