From Plantation to Park: The Story of Dix Hill
Raleigh, North Carolina
Discovering the History Through Memories
The story of Dix Hill is told through the experiences and memories of the people who once called this land home. This exhibit uncovers memories and opens visitors minds to unique experiences revealing the changing identity of this emotional site in Raleigh, NC. The early history begins with the Hunter Plantation, displaying European land grants dating back to the mid-1700s. By the 1800s the space was purchased by the state to create a hospital for the mentally ill. Architect Alexander J. Davis, inspired by the landscape, created plans to integrate the natural beauty as a part of the healing process. Following the opening of the hospital, a small community developed as patients, employees, and families began to settle on the property.
Eventually the hospital closed in 2012 after patient populations dwindled, although the buildings and houses still stand. Through the life of the land and the shift in mental health – the natural beauty and healing properties of the rolling hills stayed steady. The exhibit provides some explanation for respecting the space and creating a new life for these memories while educating visitors about the entire experience.
A Park for Everyone, Built by Everyone
The new vision, A Park for Everyone, Built by Everyone, states the mission for the next chapter of Dix Park. The open space, right outside of downtown Raleigh, has a rich history. From plantation, to hospital, to park-- it has been home to a wide variety of individuals. This is only the beginning of a large masterplan to create an urban park to improve physical health, mental health and community health in Raleigh.
This exhibit was developed with the City of Raleigh Museum Staff and Dorthea Dix Park Conservancy.
ABC 11 "City of Raleigh Museum opens new exhibit chronicling history of Dorothea Dix Park"
Walter Magazine "New Dix Park Exhibit Opening Reception at City of Raleigh Museum"
Raleigh Magazine "Once Upon A Park"