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    The Billy Graham LibraryBilly Graham Library Charlotte, North Carolina
    The Billy Graham Library is a public museum and library that documents the life and ministry of Christian evangelist, Billy Graham, occupying a 40,000 square foot complex that opened in 2007, with the library sitting on the grounds of the international headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina, just a couple of miles from Billy would grow up, and is actually styled after a dairy barn that reflects his childhood on the farm. The main galleries showcase many presentations, relics, music, photographs, and voices from his ministry, with a complete gallery devoted to Ruth Bell Graham, the late wife of Billy. You'll also see the dairy bar cafe and a bookstore called "Ruth's Attic", with the visitors entering through doors that are located at the base of a 40 foot glass cross. The Prayer Garden is another beautiful spot that contains the remains of Ruth, after she was buried here in 2007. Ruth didn't want to be buried here, but preferred to be in the mountains of her beloved state, at her home there. In 2009, the wife of long time music director, Cliff Barrows, named Wilma Billie Barrows, is buried there as well. The Billy Graham Library is not a memorial or museum, but rather a unique ministry that was prayerfully planned with the intention of communicating the unchanging, life-giving message of Jesus Christ to the hundreds of thousands that come here to visit each year that might not ever come to a crusade. The library complex includes; Billy's childhood home, that was built in 1927 on their dairy farm some three miles from here. It has been excellently restored and is full of family photographs and personal mementoes of the Graham family.

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    Mint Museum of ArtMint Museum of Art Charlotte, North Carolina
    The Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina is a cultural institution that includes the Mint Museum RANDOLPH and the Mint Museum UPTOWN that house hundreds of collections that showcase art and design from across the globe, with the Mint Museum Randolph occupying a federal style structure that had housed the Charlotte Mint and opened in 1936. It would become the first museum to open in the state, with a permanent collection of photography, American and European decorative arts, American art, Asian art, African art, Ancient American art, American and European ceramics, North Carolina pottery, contemporary art, historic costume and fashionable dress and accessories and historic maps; with a companion museum called the Mint Museum of Craft & Design that concentrates on contemporary artworks. It is the city's biggest visual arts institution and also houses the biggest public collection of Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden's excellent works. Its American collection contains about 900 works that had been created between the late 1700s and 1945, with portraiture of the Federal period, 19th century landscapes, and paintings from a group called the "Eight" that includes; Robert Henri, Arthur Bowen Davies, George Luks, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, Everett Shinn and John Sloan. Other well known artists in the collection include artists; John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully and the Hudson River school painters Sanford Gifford and Thomas Cole. Their decorative arts collection is considered to be one of the finest in the nation; with the ancient Americas collection containing about 2000 works from 40 odd cultures that span 4500 years, and includes body adornments, sculpture, metal ornaments, tools and ceramic vessels. There are 2230 objects in the contemporary collection, with the Bearden collection, photography from 1945 to the current day and contemporary sculpture. It is a fabulous museum and well worth visiting when you come to Charlotte, for cultural spots.

April 25, 2011