Henderson Institute Historical Museum to reopen

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Apr. 22—HENDERSON — The Henderson Institute Historical Museum will reopen on May 3 after a two-year shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karen Johnson, co-chair of the museum's communications committee, said they have received numerous requests for the museum to reopen.

Beginning the week of May 3, the museum will be open each week on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Previously, the museum was open to the public one day a week and for special occasions.

Groups of 10 or more wishing to tour the museum should call 252-430-0616 and leave a message and contact information at least 48 hours prior to the desired date of a visit. A Henderson Institute representative will reply to assist with arrangements for the tour.

The museum will be staffed by volunteers, Johnson said, adding that they are "looking to name a director sometime down the road."

For 10 years, Edna Scott served as curator at the museum, before she resigned in 2021 to accept an appointment to the Warren County Commissioners.

The museum is supported by the Henderson Institute Graduates and Former Students Association Inc., a nonprofit.

Henderson Institute was founded in 1887 and served as the major educational institution for African Americans in Vance County until it was closed in 1970. The facilities on the multi-building campus fell into disuse and most of the property was put to other uses.

In 1986, the Vance County school board deeded the former library and science building to the Henderson Institute Graduates and Former Students Association, which established the Henderson Institute Historical Museum in the facility.

The museum is dedicated to preserving oral and written records, books, photographs and artifacts documenting the history of Henderson Institute and the achievements of its former students. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.