I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.
International Civil Rights Museum - Greensboro
The Museum is housed in the original Woolworth's Store Building where the "Greensboro Four" began their sit-in on February 1st, 1960. The content of the Museum is largely viewed through the lens of this February 1st event. You must buy a ticket for the tour to see the Museum. Tickets are $10 for adults and sold in the Museum Store (my kids were free). There is no photography allowed in the Museum. You can bring in a stroller for your kids - there is an elevator to get down to the basement and our tour guide helped us get the stroller up the escalator to the lunch counter.
The tour starts in the basement of the building with a very short introductory video. The Civil Rights Museum belongs to a new age of museums. Most of the Museum is presented visually through pictures and short videos. Instead of reading placards on walls, the pictures are interpreted through your tour guide. If you have young children you may want to skip the "Hall of Shame" - a collection of photographs depicting the atrocities inflicted upon African Americans during slavery and Jim Crow. Instead of exposing my kids to some of the violent imagery (hangings, persons disfigured by violence), I waited with the kids in the next room for the tour guide to rejoin us.
In the next room, there was a video reenactment of the 'Greensboro Four' making plans in their A&T dorm room the night before the sit-in. We could also see a replica of the interior of the A&T dorm room where the plans were made.
We made it upstairs to the lunch counter - still in its original footprint - before my toddler completely melted down. Behind the counter, is a seamlessly integrated video screen that plays another reenactment of what happened as the four students sat down at the lunch counter. Unfortunately, this is as far as we got before I decided it was pointless to continue with a screaming toddler. I have been trying to get to this Museum since it opened. I finally get there and what does my toddler do? Throw a royal fit in the middle of the tour, forcing me to leave so that the rest of the people in our group could actually hear the tour guide. I was so frustrated with the toddler that I wanted to scream. On the other hand, my preschooler was great and seemed to take in everything.
Our exceptional tour guide let us out one of the exits and suggested we talk to the ticket seller to ask if I could come back another time at no extra charge.
Parking can be tricky at the Museum. You'll have to look for parallel spots on the street, some are metered and some are not. I was lucky to get a spot, less than a block away, on the same street as the Museum, but it took a few minutes of driving around to find this spot.
I am very intrigued by what I was able to see of the Museum and I plan to go back as soon as I can manage it. My preschooler was engaged by all of the video displays, but if you have a toddler like mine you might want to bring some extra adult help or leave the toddler at home. I would definitely recommend the Civil Rights Museum for school-age kids.