MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – People living in Mount Holly are frustrated that their beloved museum is being forced to pack up and move.
The museum is in a prime location right now, downtown Mount Holly.
That means people are way more likely to walk by and stop in for a visit. That’s not the case in the location where the city wants the museum to go.
It’s a step back to a place that only exists in memories.
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Melisa Thompson relives her high school days at the museum in Mount Holly.
“A lot of people didn’t even know we had a high school because we don’t have one now,” said Thompson of the Mount Holly Historical Society.
The high school room is one of many, each dedicated to Mount Holly’s history.
“That’s a reminder of our childhood that you can’t just walk up the street and see; what you’ve got is two rooms here,” said Thompson.
The Mount Holly Historical Society started 12 years ago.
Volunteers put in tens of thousands of hours to create the displays inside the old city hall building, which is still owned by the city on Main Street.
“I’ve personally put in a lot of time to build these exhibits, and I hate to see that time wiped away,” said Garrie Brinkley of the Mount Holly Historical Society.
The historical society says without any warning or reason, the City of Mount Holly told them they had to pack up and move the museum.
“What are they not telling us? Why did they not just say, ‘This is why?” asked Thompson.
Supporters say the displays are tailor-made to fit each room.
“The families that helped build a mill and build the town–that’s still important to acknowledge and recognize,” said Brinkley.
The new space is much smaller.
Plus, the museum already has items in storage because they don’t have enough space, but the most troubling part is the new space is away from the heart of downtown.
Supporters wonder if the relics of the past will have a future.
“We’re very afraid that if it goes down there, it will just die,” said Thompson.
If you want to speak up about this issue, there’s still time. There’s a city council meeting Monday night at 6:30 at the Municipal Complex at 400 East Central Avenue.
The City of Mount Holly issued the following statement in response to a Queen City News inquiry:
During the Mount Holly City Council Retreat on February 25, 2022, Council voted unanimously to relocate the Mount Holly Historical Society (Society) to a new location in the Municipal Complex, located in the upfitted textile mill that currently houses the Mount Holly Police Department, Grand Hall, and administrative offices. The Retreat discussion meeting minutes are public record and are available here.
The Society, whose mission is to preserve and maintain the City’s archives, operates in the city-owned building located at 131 South Main Street that is in need of repairs. In addition to providing the Society with space for their exhibits, archives, and office, the City provides annual funding to assist with the operations of the non-profit organization.
The Council’s vote in February demonstrated their intent to relocate the City archives and museum to a new facility; thereby activating space in both the downtown building and the Municipal Complex.
The City will finance the design and construction to create a new state-of-the-art museum, featuring a climate-controlled environment, enhanced exhibits, ample parking, and easy access to the heart of downtown. The relocation of the archives will be financed by the City as well.
There is no intention for the dissolution of the Historical Society, just their relocation to another building. The City looks forward to the continued collaboration with this essential organization. The Mayor and City Council look forward to an open dialogue with the Historical Society Board and “Save the Museum” group during the September 26th City Council Work Session.Miles Braswell, City Manager