Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

North-Carolina Museum

by Elizabeth Reid Murray, 2006

See also: Museums

The North-Carolina Museum was one of the names Excerpt from North Carolina schools and academies, 1790-1840; a documentary history (1915) p. 762 by Charles Coon. Image courtesy of the Internet Archive. associated with a short-lived effort in Raleigh in the 1810s to gather and display an assemblage of natural and manufactured objects, curiosities, and works of art. It was also referred to as the Raleigh Museum, and sometimes in newspaper notices simply as "the Museum." Later writers have called it Marling's Museum, because the name of artist Jacob Marling (1774-1833) is most often associated with the effort. In 1818 Marling constructed a building to house his collection on the north side of East Martin Street, some 80 feet east of Fayetteville Street. Marling had advertised in May 1815 his intention of opening a "Museum and Gallery," for which he had "commenced collecting whatever is rare and curious, in the production of nature," as well as art and literature.

Associated with the museum during part of its short existence was a public reading room and library. Marling had extended an invitation for people to deposit in the museum collection "articles worthy of notice" that they might have found "in their excursions." Gen. Calvin Jones of Raleigh was one of those who some months later "transferred the whole of his collection to this institution." Meanwhile, Marling began constructing on the Martin Street lot a building designed for exhibiting the collections. In August 1818 he pronounced the North-Carolina Museum open. The admission price was 25 cents and tickets for the year cost $5. Marling again invited individuals to contribute "natural and artificial curiosities, sketches, maps, drawings and paintings, rare coins and books," promising to append to those exhibited "the name of the liberal donor."

It is unclear why or when Marling closed or lost the museum, but transfer of the loaned collections to another location and to other proprietors may have begun as early as 1819 based on newspaper accounts and advertisements. The reading room apparently continued for a while after that date.


Charles L. Coon, North Carolina Schools and Academies, 1790-1840 (1915).

Marshall DeLancey Haywood, "Jacob Marling: An Early North Carolina Artist," North Carolina Booklet (April 1911).

Ben F. Williams, "Jacob Marling, Early North Carolina Artist," Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue, North Carolina Museum of Art (1964).

Image Credit:

Excerpt from North Carolina schools and academies, 1790-1840; a documentary history (1915) p. 762 by Charles Coon. Image courtesy of the Internet Archive. Available from (accessed August 24, 2012).

Origin - location: 

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at