The Levine Museum of the New South is selling its building on 7th Street in uptown Charlotte as it looks to transform itself and how it interacts with the community.
In an email sent to museum members, Levine President and CEO Kathryn Hill said the museum will search for a “more flexible uptown facility” and pursue a “community-centered, digital-first transformation.”
“As part of our calling to reach new audiences and deliver non-traditional programming, we have decided to sell our Uptown property to fully embrace our next chapter,” she wrote in the email.
No immediate changes are planned, however, and the museum will continue to operate while the property is on the market.
“Our mission remains unchanged, and our role in this community is more important than it’s ever been,” Hill said in an interview with the Observer. “What we’re looking at now are new ways of delivering that are broadly accessible and highly compelling.”
“By digital-first, we don’t mean digital-only,” she added, “There is nothing that replaces the power that’s generated in a room full of people who are sharing their stories and learning from each other, and in-person programming is still part of our strategy.”
Hill said selling the site could take up to a year. The sale also opens up a significant piece of uptown real estate.
Pandemic-related closures spurred the museum to embrace new types of projects, such as a digital walking tour of the Brooklyn neighborhood launching this August, Hill told the Observer. “It has forever changed us,” she said.
“The museum’s mission has never been more important, and if we are to reach broadly across the community, we must imagine new ways to create and deliver content in the digital age,“ Hill said in the email, “We recognize, too, that we need to work more closely with and in the communities we serve, to ensure all Charlotteans are heard and known.”
The museum has received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support the shift. The funds will go toward expanding the Brooklyn tour initiative and hiring a community engagement manager, among other items, Hill said. Last August, Hill said that the museum was exploring a potential sale or redevelopment of its uptown property, which comprises 0.7 acres at the corner of 7th St. and North College St. At the time, Hill said the board has been studying options for he site for several years.
The museum’s current facility opened in 2001, although the organization had a presence in the building for several years before that. The building and land it sits on are worth about $7.7 million, according to county real estate records cited by the Observer last year.
The Levine Museum was founded in 1991, according to the organization’s website.
This story originally appeared on The Charlotte Observer, charlotteobserver.com.
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