When Friday rolls around, most people are busy trying to come up with plans for the weekend. Dinner & a movie, shopping, hanging out with friends…..there are a ton of ways to spend your time, but if you’re looking to do something a little different, this is the perfect weekend to do it. Saturday, September 28th is National Museum Day & museums all across the country are opening their doors to the public for free! The annual event, called Museum Day Live! is hosted by the Smithsonian Magazine, & their goal is to get more & more people involved in all of the amazing things that local museums have to offer.
Museums are an essential part of any community. They are a great place for learning, hands-on experiences, and they’re considered by most people to be a trustworthy source of objective information. Believe it or not, museums actually have more annual visitors than all major league sporting events & theme parks COMBINED! I would have never thought that, but museums annually have around 850 million visitors, while sporting events & parks have about 483 million. Museum Day Live! is about encouraging even more people to discover the benefits of museums, and the best part is, it’s free! All you need is a ticket, which can be printed off from the Smithsonian website here. And you can use their map to find all of the museums in your area that are participating in the event.
Lots of venues in North Carolina are taking part. Here are just a few of my top picks:
Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville
The striking American Kestral.
Photo Credit: J Engel / The Field Museum
The Carolina Raptor Center is a environmental stewardship & conservation home for all types of birds of prey. The center takes in orphaned & injured raptors & nurses them back to health, and then releases them back into the wild once they are ready. There are over 25 different raptor species at the center, including a pair of American Bald Eagles, who have been laying eggs for the past 5 years, some of which have been released into the wild. If you’re looking to see the eagle, this is one of the only places in the southeast that actually rehabilitates & exhibits them for the public. Other birds at the center include the Short-eared owl, the Mississippi Kite, the American Kestral (pictured above), and many more. Visitors can even take part in the Adopt-a-Bird program, which includes some really great perks, or you can witness the release of a bird back into the wild by participating in the Release-a-Raptor program. I think the center would be a really interesting place to visit, and maybe catch a glimpse of some birds you wouldn’t typically see in a normal zoo.
North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh
The NC Museum of History, located in our state’s capital, was conceptualized back in the 1800s by Samuel A’Court Ashe, the publisher of the Raleigh News & Observer. After visiting Boston, a city rich in history, he began campaigning to save the history of NC, so that future generations could experience & learn about it. Now, years & years later, thousands of people visit the museum every year to do just that. There are many permanent collections at the museum, and lots of educational & informational exhibits on display. The Story of North Carolina, the largest exhibit ever produced at the museum, is the perfect way to learn the history of our great state, from the early inhabitants all the way through the 20th century. Check out this video detailing all of the other interesting things you’ll find on a visit to the museum:
Asheville Art Museum in Asheville
Art museums are always a fun place to visit. There’s such a wide variety of interesting things to see and learn about while you’re there. The Asheville Art Museum, which features art from the 20th & 21st centuries, is known as one of the best museums for the arts in Western NC and the Southeast. There are daily and weekly events happening at the museum, all of which are available to the public. Below are just a few examples of some of the art the museum has to offer:
Left: Bold blown-glass vase by Dale Brownscombe. Right: I love this acrylic painting by Walter Darby Bannard, called Violent Light
This is a great time of year to visit, as well, because the museum is located in Asheville, which is one of the prettiest places in our state during the fall of the year!
There are many more museums around the state to choose from on Museum Day Live!, and there’s sure to be some in your area, as well. Don’t forget to check out the map here and take part tomorrow!
Some weeks I feel just like this owl! I’m glad the weekend is finally here. Have a great one