SEDALIA, N.C. – The Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum will hold a grand opening ceremony for its refurbished Kimball Hall on Friday, April 29, at 1 p.m. Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle and Historic Sites Director Keith Hardison will be joined by community leaders and other dignitaries to mark the occasion.
The renovated hall sits on the historic site of the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum. The site commemorates Dr. Brown, who founded the Palmer Memorial Institute. From 1902 to 1971, the Palmer Memorial Institute was a boarding school for African American children. Kimball Hall served as the dining hall for the Institute.
“Kimball Hall will serve as an important gathering place for the community and will be the site of special exhibits and events for years to come,” Hardison said. “Thanks to the hard work of skilled craftsmen and our dedicated staff, plaster was restored, the original hardwood floors were made to shine again, and the original slate roof was restored and rehabilitated. The results are impressive.”
While Kimball Hall retains its historic character, modern amenities have been seamlessly included. Kimball Hall now has a catering kitchen and has been enhanced with audio-visual equipment.
The “upfitting” and addition of amenities like kitchen fixtures and furnishing of the building was done with private funds provided by the Palmer Memorial Institute Alumni Association, Charlotte Hawkins Brown Historical Foundation, Inc., and friends and supporters of the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum. The restoration of the building — the return of the building to its original state — was done with a legislative appropriation.
Site manager Frachele Scott said, “This addition to our site is immeasurable. Kimball Hall will provide us with additional space for our exhibits and events. It will also be available to the public.
“The main room is 2,400 square feet with original hardwood floors, soaring paned glass windows, beamed ceilings and original moldings. It is truly a magnificent building.”
The Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum is one of 27 sites in the Division of N.C. Historic Sites and Properties within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available 24/7 at www.ncculture.com.
Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum is located on U.S. 70 in Sedalia, between Burlington and Greensboro, I-85/40 Exit 135. Follow the brown signs for the Museum to the site. It is at 6136 Burlington Road, Gibsonville, NC. 27249. For more information, call (336) 449-4846 or go to http://www.nchistoricsites.org/chb/chb.htm.
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