An Introduction to Wilmington's Museums

Wilmington offers a variety of things to do for the whole family. There are museums specially designed for kids, and others for lovers of art and history. BBonline recommends that you visit the museums of Wilmington to understand the essence of this city by the sea.

Latimer House Museum
126 S. Third Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
(1 910) 762-0492

If you'd like to see how the elegant upper-class Victorians in Wilmington lived, head to this museum from your Wilmington Bed and Breakfast. The 14 rooms in the museum contain more than 600 objects such as jewelry, furniture and tableware. Even the gardens surrounded by walls of authentic stucco and lace-brick have plants typical of the Victorian era.

Built in 1852 by Zebulon Latimer (a merchant from the city), in the Italianate style, the Latimer House has been home to the Historical Society since 1963. You could also choose to sign up for one of the walking tours of downtown Wilmington sponsored by the Historical Society. So head out from your cozy Wilmington Bed and Breakfast for this must-see museum.

Cameron Art Museum
3201 South 17th Street
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 395-5999

If you are an art lover, you'll enjoy a visit to the St. John's Museum of Art constructed in 1962. The museum's goal is to collect art from across North Carolina, so you are sure to find the best art collection here from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

The museum was designed by Charles Gwathmey, a famous American architect who also designed the Guggenheim Museum extension in New York. The Cameron Art Museum building itself is worth seeing with its three signature pyramids.

Some artists whose works are exhibited here are Wilmington residents like Claude Howell, and Minnie Evans. The museum features art from famous artists of North Carolina and the Southeast. The highly prized Impressionist etchings of Mary Cassatt acquired in 1984 are the pride of the museum.

The museum also has a sculpture garden and the extensive grounds with their longleaf pine forest, make for a pleasant walk. You may even be able to catch a lecture, film or concert in the museum. Yoga, tai chi and art workshops are held here. This is an experience worth leaving your cozy Wilmington Inn for.  

The Children's Museum of Wilmington
116 Orange Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
(1 910) 254-3534

A unique museum that caters to kids, this is a childhood delight with its puppet theatre, dress up facility, pirate ship, lego room and a gravity wall. Kids can hone their artistic skills in the Art Studio and make exciting discoveries through scientific experiments in the Science Center.

For toddlers there's Toddler Time when the museum is open only to toddlers for 2 hours. They can have fun creating masterpieces from shaving cream, painting huge funhouses made from cardboard, and more.

The museum offers themed birthday parties for kids and a special Christmas program is in the wings for 2009.

Cape Fear Museum
814 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
(1 910) 341-4350

Kids and lovers of history will adore the oldest history museum in North Carolina. Here you can travel back in time to witness the Civil War Battle of Fort Fisher and learn about the history of Cape Fear beginning from the first settlers through a self-guided tour.

Kids will enjoy the interactive Michael Jordan Discovery Zone where they can learn about the environment of North Carolina through interesting hands-on activities like puzzles and a life-size beaver lodge playhouse.

Of course, there's a showcase full of Michael Jordan artifacts from his first paycheck stub (his after-school job at Whitey's El-Berta Restaurant) to his UNC-Chapel Hill basketball uniform.