New county library-museum to anchor downtown Wilmington
North Carolina – Designs are underway for New Hanover County’s plans to build a county building for a new public library next to the Cape Fear Museum as part of the “Project Grace” redevelopment project.
The county is redeveloping a 3-acre county-owned block in downtown Wilmington that will transform the county’s downtown Public Library, a parking deck, and several underutilized surface parking lots into a purpose-built library adjacent to the museum.
New Hanover County – Project Grace renderings
The new facility will anchor cultural resources in downtown Wilmington, meet the specific and unique needs of both the library and museum, create new synergy in services, and enhance the visitor’s experience.
New library space will house adult services, children services, and local history services and allow for additional space for enhanced teen and tween services. Additionally, it will feature two outdoor reading terraces and incorporate natural light throughout to ensure it is a welcoming and open space.
The museum experience will be enhanced with a planetarium/immersive theater, gallery for Cape Fear Stories, health and nutrition gallery, Science Matters gallery, outdoor exhibit space, and changing gallery to accommodate a wider range of traveling exhibits.
The building will also have shared multi-purpose space that the library and museum can both use for additional programming opportunities. Outdoor space will be devoted for the museum and for community celebrations and meetings.
Once the new library and museum are constructed, private development will be added to the south side of the block to complement the new library and museum.
With schematic design complete, the development team will begin working closely with a landscape architect, an exhibit designer for the museum exhibits, a structural engineer for the building, and other disciplines to ensure the original vision is achieved. This process will likely take through January 2022.