Museum gets bits of the past

WAXHAW – The Museum of the Waxhaws will get dozens of artifacts from the Charlotte Museum of History this month, allowing the local institute to enhance its exhibit on life in the 1800s.

“The Museum of the Waxhaws is delighted and honored to receive the donations of these priceless utilitarian artifacts,” said Sandra Secrest, museum board president. “The majority of these items are utilitarian and will be used in our 1840s log house and homestead area.”

Most of the items are related to the everyday life of a backcountry settler, like what would be common in what is now Waxhaw in the 1800s. Artifacts include Dutch ovens, baskets, a kitchen table, kettle, churn, fireplace accessories and items for the barn and blacksmith shop which will be used in permanent displays in the indoor museum and homestead area.

The Charlotte Museum of History is transferring more than 1,200 artifacts from its collection to more than a dozen local museums and historical societies as it works to cut back on costs in the face of budget woes. The museum has been storing the artifacts in pricy, climate-controlled conditions and can’t afford to do so any longer.

The Museum of the Waxhaws is getting 51 artifacts. It requested 65 but was just hoping to get as much as possible. The museum has an archive room that is climate controlled, and the Charlotte museum was careful to pick museums and societies that could properly take care of the artifacts.

Leslie Kesler, historian and curator for the Charlotte Museum of History, said she left it to individual societies to announce what they have received. Other museums receiving items include the Mint Hill Historical Society and the Matthews Historical Foundation.

Of the 51 items, one could get its own special display at the Waxhaw museum: a World War II Naval nurse’s uniform that belonged to a Monroe woman. The museum specifically requested it in hopes of creating a special display, especially on Veterans Day.

“I am more excited about that item than anything,” said Cathy Wright, hostess and volunteer coordinator for the museum.

The next step for the museum is processing the new artifacts. Staff and volunteers have to catalogue and prepare all the items for display, which should take place by the spring.

The museum likes to update displays now and then, and tries to change temporary displays every two to three months, Wright said. But staff has never been in the position of having extra artifacts before, as they are now, which will make keeping the displays fresh for visitors a lot easier.

The museum is located at 8215 Waxhaw Hwy. Find more information on the Museum of the Waxhaws at its website,


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