About - Our History

The Museum of Durham History began to take shape in 2004 when Durham’s Cultural Master Plan rated a history museum one of the community’s highest priorities.

The plan noted “an array of programs in various historic sites and a number of walking tours. What is missing is a centrally located facility that can knit all these elements together into a coherent story of Durham’s past and its relevance to the present.” The Plan noted that a history museum “is one idea that virtually everyone is in agreement on … It is time to make it a reality!”


Advisory Committee Forms

Jane Goodridge, past president of Preservation Durham, pulled together a group involved in heritage-related activities. That group was formalized as the Durham History Advisory Committee in 2006.

With Cultural Master Plan funding, the advisory committee contracted Riggs Ward museum consultants to conduct a Durham History Museum Preliminary Feasibility Study, which was completed in 2008. That study underscored the community’s widespread support for a Durham history museum.

Quickly following up on the study’s recommendation, the committee filed articles of incorporation and secured federal tax-exempt status. The first board of directors and officers were installed in 2009, and Dr. Tom Krakauer was elected president.

The museum’s board and officers represent a broad spectrum of Durham’s cultural and business communities. A growing number of community volunteers lend their support to specific Museum efforts.


Museum Moves Ahead

Since incorporating, the museum has commissioned a set of banners celebrating the arts in Durham; developed brochures; launched a website, a social media presence with Facebook, a blog and Twitter, and an e-newsletter; designed the nation’s first online “gazetteer” of city streets and landmarks. With the hiring of an executive director and two part-time consultants, walking tours were initiated and educational programming began. A membership program was organized and the board was expanded to meet the needs of the growing organization.

On October 12, 2013, the Museum of Durham History opened at 500 W. Main St., revitalizing a vacant, downtown bus station.


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