Founded in 1956 as the Arts and Science Museum (or Center, depending on who you ask), Iredell Museums has been a place of learning and awe for over 60 years. The Museum was founded by a group of citizens who wanted a place for citizens of Statesville to learn about the world around them. The Museum was originally located in the 1899 water pump station on Museum Rd. The pump station, which was renovated through funds raised in a series of Arts Festivals and major contributions from donors, eventually housed multiple galleries as well as the Statesville Little Theater.
The Museum's most well-known collection piece is, arguably, its 3000-year-old Egyptian Mummy, lovingly nicknamed Margaret the Mummy. She came to the Museum in 1957 from another museum in Pennsylvania. Since she's been in Statesville, research by staff, board members, and volunteers with assistance from the British Museum revealed her origins in the Faiyum region of Egypt, where she lived about 3000 years ago. In 2016, the Museum featured her in The Mummy Treasure of Al Faiyum, an interactive exhibit exploring ancient Egypt. She is now permanently on display at the Museum.
In the 1960s and 70s, the Museum expanded from three acres to twenty and added several historic log cabins to its collection, which began the formation of what we now call Gregory Creek Homestead. The historic buildings date from 1790-1890 and are all from Iredell or Alexander County. The museum also houses artifacts from the area including early American Indian artifacts and 19th century clothing, as well as a sizable art collection. Also in the 1970s, trails on the Museum grounds were cleared and marked by local Boy Scout troops, providing walking trails for visitors to explore the wooded area that serves as a habitat for native flora and fauna.
In 2004, after a series of floods in which artifacts, including Margaret the Mummy, had to be evacuated over flood waters, the Museum made the decision to vacate the pump station and find a new home. At this point, the Museum also merged with the Children's Museum of Iredell County and became Iredell Museums. The Museum's new tagline – "Children, Arts, Heritage" – was exemplified in its three locations: Kids @ Play, Court St Gallery, and Gregory Creek Homestead. In 2015, the Kids @ Play location was closed, and the hands-on elements were integrated into the Court St Gallery space with the opening of NANO, an interactive exhibit teaching kids and families the importance of nanotechnology. Renovations began at the end of 2015 and continued until the grand re-opening of the Museum in March 2016 with The Mummy Treasure of Al Faiyum, featuring Margaret the Mummy.
Today, the Museum hosts interactive, family-friendly exhibits alongside the permanent display of the Mummy and the STEAM Studio, as well as living history programs at Gregory Creek Homestead. As the Museum grows with the community, we hope to open another gallery space in our current building.
For information about how you can help with that project, please contact Hadley Mason, Programs Coordinator, at the phone number below or using the Contact Us form.