CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – We’re rediscovering Charlotte’s lost signs.
At one point, we passed by them all the time on the trips – while shopping – the Penguin sign; South 21 Drive-In; Eastland Shopping Center.
They have become iconic, in a way, of Charlotte and her history.
But they were all taken apart. The good news is, they didn’t get far.
The Charlotte History Museum owns them and they will be on display to help us remember Charlotte’s past and envision her future.
On Your Side Tonight stopped by for a preview and to speak to Adria Focht of the Charlotte Museum of History and exhibition curator Christopher Lawing.
Jamie Boll: OK, first of all, Christopher, this room is pretty cool.
Christophe Lawing: It’s exciting to see everything to be able to observe it, just all the colors, all the signs.
Jamie Boll: What was your reaction when you sort of saw it all fall into place?
Adria Focht: Oh, it was really exciting to see the rooms enter the gallery, room by room, the lights come on. It was really wonderful to see the pieces that I personally connected with. I know Christopher feels the same for a lot of these pieces. And that’s what we hope the community will get out of it too.
Jamie Boll: Why is this important?
Adria Focht: Items like signs are elements of our built environment that help us connect to our home in Charlotte. So these things are more modern history.
But because the landscape changes so rapidly, we felt it was important to help preserve parts of those elements of the built environment that are important to the people of Charlotte today.
Jamie Boll: Christopher, how long did it take to get this all organized?
Christophe Lawing: I have collected them over the past 11 years. But, in terms of going into that space and putting them up on the wall, it was a great team effort, you know, good months of summer work. So about three months of designing, setting up manufacturing, putting the finishing touches on.
Jamie Boll: Was there one that was harder to find than others or to get in here?
Christophe Lawing: It’s one at a time. I’ll find one here, I’ll find one there. I will trace it. You know, it’s kind of like a national scavenger hunt.
Yes, and some are harder to find than others. Some are also just a matter of calling the owner and talking to the owner.
Jamie Boll: What do you think the reaction will be when people come in here?
Christophe Lawing: I expect the community to just welcome these signs with open arms like an old friend, and people really see some of these signs as a piece of their personal history – if they ate at Arts Barbecue every Friday for lunch. , or if they went to Old Hickory House every Monday for dinner with their grandparents or their sons or daughters, their children, their wives, their husbands.
Jamie Boll: Is this all part of an upcoming event?
Adria Focht: Charlotte Gem is a fundraiser for the Charlotte Museum of History. We will be hosting it on October 14th and that evening we will be getting a taste of this exhibition. We will also have the Salone Schools exhibition and the Qatada Pottery exhibition.
We are going to do circus shows on the theme of history. We will do whiskey tastings and ax throwing, so quite diverse cultural activities on the back lawn of the museum as a fundraiser.
Jamie Boll: How important is this fundraising for the mission?
Adria Focht: It is absolutely essential for us. We are a 501c three non-profit organization and we are completely independent and really appreciate the support of the community to continue to be able to advocate for historic preservation.
The exhibition begins on October 16.
You can get more information on how to view it by scanning the QR code in the video attached to this story. From there, just tap on Web Extras and it will take you to a page with the link.
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