Street Address
1500 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC 28054
Mailing Address
1500 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC 28054
Admissions
$4 adults, $2 seniors/students
Staff
Dr. David S. Brose, Executive Director
phone: 704-866-6902

Description

In the region, The Schiele is the premiere museum of natural history, American Indian culture, and early Piedmont history. The Schiele offers dynamic, interactive permanent galleries and special hands-on exhibits, conducts research, and provides public programs interpreting over 400 years of Piedmont history. Each year more than 125,000 people visit The Schiele, its Lynn Planetarium, and its living nature trail with a Catawba Indian Village and 18th-century Backcountry Farm.

History

Rudolph M. (Bud) Schiele came to Gastonia in the 1920s as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. After retirement in 1959, Bud Schiele and his wife, Lily, offered to donate their services and collections for a museum if Gaston County would provide a building. Through the efforts of a group of community leaders, the county built a 1400 square foot building on 2.2 acres in Gastonia. The new museum was incorporated and dedicated in 1961 as the Gaston Museum of Natural History. The extensive natural history and Native American collections made by the Schiele's formed the nucleus of the original museum collection and stimulated the interest of the community, resulting in the donation of other significant private mineral and natural history collections. Among the latter were archaeology, ethnographic, and the ornithology collections.

In June of 1964, ownership of the museum was transferred to the City of Gastonia and the name was changed to the Schiele Museum of Natural History in honor of its founder. Since it opened in 1961, the Schiele Museum's audience, facility, staff, exhibits, and programs have experienced considerable growth. Today, the 58,000 square foot museum building is located on 16.2 acres and serves over 150,000 people annually.

In the Hall of North Carolina Natural History, the Hall of North American Wildlife, the Elizabeth W. Robinson Hall of Earth and Man, the Hall of North American Habitats, and the new Henry Hall of the American Indian, Museum exhibits interpret geology, biology, and anthropology. The museum facility also includes a 150-seat Planetarium, a 198-seat auditorium, a K-3 classroom called the Bobcats Den, and the Schiele Shop, where visitors can purchase items related to natural history. Outdoor interpretive sites include the Nature Trail, 18th-century Backcountry Farm, and Catawba Indian Village.

Throughout the year, The Schiele Museum provides on-site educational programs, workshops, and exhibitions for school children, teachers, and the general public. The Museum's Grassroots Science Outreach Initiative takes programs to students in Gaston and ten surrounding counties.