The Schiele is composed of several real-life exhibits completely focused on North American history, from landscapes to the wildlife to the people that populated the land throughout history. It gives its visitors the experience of what it was like to live during those times through hands-on exhibits both indoors and out.
At the museum, there are several galleries that are open year round. The North Carolina Natural History exhibit features three-dimensional dioramas of all the animal species specific to North Carolina. The Hall of North American Habitats and the Hall of North American Wildlife gives visitors the opportunity to experience the diversity of the North American ecosystems and the wildlife inhabitants shown through life-sized displays. The Elizabeth W. Robinson Hall of Earth and Man gives an accurate portrayal of what it was like to roam Earth during prehistoric times, while the Henry Hall of the American Indian is a truly authentic experience that showcases the rich Native American culture through the preservation of artifacts.
The fun and learning isn’t just confined to the exhibits within its 60,000 square foot facility. At the Schiele guest will also experience a plethora of outdoor experiences as well! The museum’s nature trail gives visitors a taste of the North Carolina Piedmont forests. The Memorial Wildlife Garden is the perfect place for observing the habitat of the Piedmont’s wildlife, and the Catawba Indian Village has a seasonal display where guests can learn about the Catawba people’s day-to-day lives. Explore and learn by visiting the Catawba’s bark houses, log houses, and council buildings. The Stone Age Heritage site and 18th Century Backcountry Farm will also keep guests busy. At both of these exhibits, children, and adults alike, can experience the stark contrast of modern day technology to the tools that were used by our historic predecessors.
For those that are more scientifically inclined, the Schiele has a world-class planetarium that alone is worth the trip to Gastonia. The three shows currently playing in the planetarium are: Nightwatch, The Light-hearted Astronomer, and Is There Anybody Out There? Each of these are shown on select days so guests are recommended to call in advance.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History is a well-kept secret offering so many educational and enjoyable opportunities to the people living in metropolitan Charlotte. Luckily for you the museum offers a yearly membership for reduced admission and a discounted price for the planetarium. Gastonia residents, senior citizens, and college students with ID also receive an admissions discount. The Schiele is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and on Sundays 1pm to 5pm.
For a bit more info, visit www.schielemuseum.org.