Named for its former status as a branch of the U.S. Mint, the Mint Museum was, when it originally opened in 1936, the first art museum in North Carolina. Having outgrown its original Federal-style building, the museum was split into two locations in 2010.
The Mint Uptown is focused largely on American and European art from the 18th century on, but also features craft and design galleries of (largely) North Carolina-produced glass, pottery, jewelry and more. There are generally two rotating exhibits here – often by photography and new media artists – and the ongoing exhibition of local artist Romare Bearden’s modernist paintings and prints.
The Mint Randolph houses four permanent collections from the original Mint Museum: Art of the Ancient Americas, including Aztec and pre-Colombian clay and gold objects; a historic costume and accessories gallery that spans three centuries; Native American Art, including performance masks from Mexico and Guatemala; and a gallery of over 12,500 decorative art objects from around the world. The museum also stages 12 rotating exhibitions at any one time, highlighting objects and costumes from the original Mint Museum’s collections, as well as the work of Southern artists.