Matthews Heritage Museum
Housed in the 1879 Massey-Clark House, one of the oldest buildings in downtown Matthews, the Matthews Heritage Museum is a step back in time. In the Early Commerce Gallery learn about King Cotton and the early days of the railroad. Imagine cashing a check at the Bank of Matthews, and see part of the original bank interior on display. Listen to telephone switchboard stories while looking at an old crank phone and switchboard.
Children and adults will enjoy exploring the Lifestyles Gallery, imagining a time before electricity and running water. Schools were a vital part of the community. Porches were the center of living, particularly in the summer in an effort to stay cool. Learn what was different in the kitchen at the turn of the century.
Our Community Gallery allows you to discover the many activities that happened at the local drug store. You can also investigate the early set up of the doctor’s office or hear wonderful stories about the local pool. A display of Outen Pottery, hand thrown pots made from local clay, is of great interest.
Snippets from the Matthews Remembered and Outen Pottery DVD play for the audience in the Lifestyles and Community Galleries. The hallway panels give visitors insight to early Matthews.
Tour groups are welcomed by our knowledgeable docents. Please call 704-708-4996 to make tour arrangements.
Matthews Historical Foundation
The Matthews Historical Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. Comprised of dedicated volunteers, it was founded in 1987 by a group of local citizens. Since its beginning, the Historical Foundation has been interested in preserving the history of Matthews. As 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, the Matthews Historical Foundation have been the caretakers of the Reid House, located at 134 West John Street, since 1987.
The Matthews Historical Foundation owns and operates the Heritage Museum. After months of restoration work, the Matthews Historical Foundation reached their goal in 2010 of renovating and restoring one of the earliest homes in historic downtown Matthews, returning it to a useful part of the community. The renovated Massey-Clark House is home to the Matthews Heritage Museum. The Museum explores 150 years of Matthews history.
Meet the Director
Barbara Taylor has been the Director of the Matthews Heritage Museum since 2013, present at the opening of the museum in June 2013. Since then she has successfully trained over 40 docents to give tours to our public. Among her other duties, she creates new exhibits every 3–4 months on topics of local interest.
In 2019, after a year of research, Ms. Taylor installed a major exhibit on Tank Town: the African-American community in Matthews. The Museum has since purchased a case to permanently include information on this community in the Museum, and has installed another part of the exhibit in the lobby of the Town Hall/Library. Recently, she worked closely with the Town on writing the history and developing signage for a Heritage Trail in Crestdale. While the Museum was closed due to COVID-19 she worked on updating the collections database.
Ms. Taylor comes to Matthews Heritage Museum as one familiar with the local area, having served as the Curator of Education for the Charlotte Museum of History from 1976–1983 where she built up a large docent organization. She returned to Charlotte in 1997 to take the position of Director at Rosedale Plantation. She has served as director of three other museums including the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, the Museum of Mobile in Mobile, AL, and the High Point Museum in High Point, NC.
Local Artifacts Wanted — Donations Accepted
To donate items, contact the Matthews Heritage Museum at 704-708-4996 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.