Major Events and Renovations at the Schiele


The Schiele Museum of Natural History has major events coming, and it’s undergoing big renovations.

The regionally renowned museum in downtown Gastonia will soon see the grand reopening of its Catawba Indian village exhibit. That event is coming up on Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.-2p.m.

On a beautiful day in October, 1984, the Schiele Museum of Natural History celebrated the village’s grand opening. This outdoor exhibit is a premier cultural attraction. The site combined the natural beauty of the museum’s outdoor nature trail with craftsmanship and historical accuracy in the village’s layout and design. The unique structures of the Catawba village relied on archaeological artifacts and written records to give visitors a better understanding of the daily living conditions for the Amerindian communities that lived in North Carolina more than 300 years ago. It was designed to answer important questions for curious visitors seeking to understand more about how the Catawba Indians lived before and after contact with Spanish and, later, English explorers in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

The village contains replicas of a pre-historic bark house; a village house, a 17th-century social and spiritual structure; and examples of log homes from the early 1700’s and 1800’s. These full-sized structures allow visitors to see changes in Catawba life and architectural traditions from the 1500’s to the turn of the 20th century.

These structures have endured years of educational programs and hands-on learning experiences, and they are in need of revitalization. We’re excited to announce that the Catawba village is undergoing renovations, thanks to support from our partners at the Community Foundation of Gaston County and Gaston County Travel and Tourism. The upgrades and improvements made possible by these partnerships will allow visitors to have a unique cultural experience at the village for the foreseeable future.

The Schiele Museum compliments these wonderful buildings and village structures with programs that allow visitors to travel through a living history lesson designed to create an atmosphere of learning,
unavailable from the pages of a book or walls of a museum. The museum’s grand reopening event for the Catawba Village is scheduled to co-incide with the American Indian Festival. Join us on that Saturday to explore the culture, heritage and lives of America’s first people as they demonstrate skills in pottery-making, storytelling, drumming, dancing and singing. Play games, test your own talents at primitive skills, explore the Catawba village and enjoy Amerindian crafts as we celebrate history at the Schiele Museum!

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the Northern Plains

In addition to offering special events and exhibits on-site, the Schiele Museum is excited to offer a truly unique opportunity to see a total solar eclipse near the Grand Tetons mountain range, this August.

Join us for an unforgettable experience in the Northern Plains, as the museum education staffers lead you across the country to discover the science, history and culture of this region, while making your way toward the perfect location to witness the total solar eclipse from the Grand Tetons. Dig for fossils from the Green River Formation, visit the “Tipi Capital of the World” during the 99th annual Crow Fair Powwow and “glamp” (slang for camping in style and comfort) in nice accommodations under the stars in West Yellowstone. Plus, you’ll view geysers, hot springs, buffalo herds and more as you travel through Yellowstone National Park.

The cost is $2,000 for museum members and $2,250 for non-members. Call 704-854-6676 for more information or to register. The deadline to register is April 21.

Additional adult education opportunities at the museum

Join us for our monthly topic as part of the “Schiele After Hours” program. It provides an opportunity for adults to get together for trivia, refreshments, a beer, interesting speakers and a show in our newly upgraded planetarium and science theatre. Check out the Website at and select the adult education page to learn more about our speakers for each event.

The museum’s education staffers are proud to offer a wide variety of workshops that can provide knowledge and training in a number of unique topics related to science, history and culture. Join us for one of the following topics during:

• “Growing up Wild”: Strengthen your skills at helping young children, between the age of 3 and 7, to develop a sense of wonder about nature. Learn safe and effective ways to explore wildlife creatures and their habitats. It all happens Saturday, March 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $10 for members and $12 for non-members.

• “Flint-Knapping Basics”: Stone tools were the literal cutting edge of technology for thousands of years. Explore the evolution of stone tools and understand the basics of shaping stone, using traditional methods of percussion and pressure flaking. Individual knapping kits, with all of the essential materials, are included. This is April 8, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; $115 for members; $125 for non-members.

• “Leopold Education Project”: Explore the outdoors, observe nature and begin to develop your own land ethic. The Leopold Education Project is an innovative and interdisciplinary environmental education curriculum, based on the essays in A Sand County Almanac by early environmentalist Aldo Leopold. Included are supplemental materials and a guide; May 13, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; $45 members/$50 non-members.

Pre-registration is required for adult workshops. Call 704- 854-6676 to reserve your spot in advance.

As Seen In: Page 20 Gaston Lifestyles March/April 2017
Author: Philip McGinnis,Photo Credit: Schiele Museum

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