The Museum of Durham History was already a place you could learn about the evolution of the Bull City from pre-colonial Indian Trading Path to Research Triangle Park.
But if you wanted to trace that history – to learn how Brightleaf was a tobacco before an entertainment district or about the businesses that made Black Wall Street a mecca of minority enterprise – you had to do it online ( museumofdurhamhistory.org).
The museum did not have a physical location until Saturday.
That’s when hundreds of supporters came out in the drizzle to be the first ones through the door of the new Durham History Hub in the spiffed-up old bus transfer station off the Downtown Loop.
Inside, wall exhibits, touch screens, even a dress-up clothes trunk for the kids will now greet visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
Every inch is a learning experience.
But director Katie Spencer says you don’t have to look at the walls to see Durham’s history. You can simply glance out the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Durham’s history surrounds the hub: the former Central High School (1927-1977) and City Hall building, now home of the Durham Arts Council; the Lucky Strike Tower in the American Tobacco Warehouse District; the Hill Building, former home to Central Carolina Bank and SunTrust and soon to become 21c art museum and hotel.
Spencer said, an exhibit called “Look Beyond the Windows” invites visitors to take in the nearly 360 degree panorama and see the city’s past, present and future.
“The history is unfolding as we speak,” she said.