Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Come to A House Museum

Have you visited the Billy Graham House Museum? The site is officially called The Billy Graham Library, and there is a library, but it is much, much more than that. Even those not overly fond of Mr. Graham will find the trip to the house and grounds in Charlotte, North Carolina well worth it.  I was there last summer with my husband, two daughters and some friends who had just moved to the area.

A visit will include a tour of the modest home Mr. Graham grew up in, replete with original furnishings and wallpaper, right down to several thousand bricks--which is remarkable considering that the house has been transplanted to this site from miles away, where Mr. Graham grew up. (How they do that, I'll never fathom!)

Even before entering the home, visitors are greeted outdoors with lovely hymns, as if an angel choir is hovering about somewhere. It turns out that the music is wafting out of fairly hidden speakers, and these are scattered about the walking paths so that one is never too far away from the peaceful, happy sounds.   On a beautiful day, you might think you're on heavenly grounds!

As you enter the house, it is immediately apparent that Mrs. Graham (not Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of the famous evangelist, but Billy's mother) had an eye for tasteful decor. I couldn't help snapping photos as we moved along.
Victorian Lady. (from the Billy Graham Homestead)

Dining Room (Billy Graham Homestead)

It may not be overtly apparent in the photos, but upon entering the house you can't miss an abundance of creamy light-blue, present in the painted walls, the drapery and upholstery and in other accessories. It was Mrs. Graham's favorite color. (I like a lady who knows how to please herself in her decorating style--especially when it is so esthetically successful.) ;) 

We were only given access to the first floor rooms, and even some of them were tantalizingly roped off so that you couldn't see the whole room. (Must be what makes me an avid researcher for my novels--a really well developed sense of curiosity!) Those we could view, however, were lovely. The kitchen was small and definitely low-tech. Not a granite countertop in sight, but it had the winsome charm of days past, which is what I enjoyed throughout the home.

Right Wall in Dining Room (Billy Graham Homestead)
More Victorian vignettes. (Not a great picture, unfortunately!)

Georgian Vignette. I could not get this photo without the reflection, much as I tried. 
  Once you complete the short tour of the homestead, you follow the path, still enjoying the hymns along the way, to the Barn. This is where the real tour begins, with state-of-the-art animatronics in the huge "reception" room and bookstore, where it all starts. There is no charge for any of this, by the way. Admission is free, which is a delightful surprise, considering the cost of even small museums, today.

Once you listen to an animatronic cow give you a little amusing introduction, you follow a mostly self-guided tour from room to room. "Self-guided," because no one rushes you, but there is a presentation or short film in most every room, so that, even though no one is moving you along, the tour goes in order of Mr. Graham's life, and you learn, not only about him and where he traveled to preach the Word of God--these things seem almost incidental--but about the various countries he went to. There is political, social, and spiritual information, so you don't feel as though it is all about him. Instead, it is a great testimony of what God does with a willing soul, and even a history lesson for anyone willing to listen, read, and learn.

Exhibits range from written paraphernalia, pictures, films, recorded excerpts, artwork, and a couple rooms full of personal artifacts, letters, and other things of interest. I don't think I spent a boring moment. Then, at the very end of the tour, we went through a wonderful doorway, which (if I remember correctly) is meant to represent the door we all hope to pass through one day--the gateway to heaven. (See below.) It is actually like going through a short tunnel--fun!

Notice the Cross: Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Afterwards, you can browse the bookstore or get a bite to eat. 

And outside, follow the trails to see a few memorials, including the gravesite of Ruth Bell Graham. [Gotta love that lady. On her stone is an inscription she saw one day near a construction site and immediately wanted for her own memorial: "End of Construction. Thank you for your patience."] Beside her stone is an empty spot for Mr. Graham, but trust me when I say there is nothing macabre or sad about it. (As Paul the Apostle says, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.") 

For more information on the Billy Graham Library, hours of operation, and more, see the website HERE.

Wonderful friends, Javier and Beth Buch, with my youngest daughter. I love combining out of state visits to see friends with trips to museums, homesteads, and the like. Don't you?

MARCH GIVEAWAY WINNER:  Chaplain Debbie! As one of my very faithful blog readers, I couldn't have been more delighted by the pick of the draw. (Winners are always chosen using
Debbie wins a three-tin set of English Teas. Congratulations, Deb! Enjoy a good cup of tea before it gets too hot outside! :)

NEW GIVEAWAY: Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment after any post. Please include your email so I can notify you if you win!
This month's giveaway is the hardcover: English Country House Murders and, the British CD "More Tea, Vicar?"

English Country House Murders is an exciting collection of some of the very best writing in the genre by top-notch writers of the past century (and the 19th). You'll find names like P.D. James, Wilkie Collins, G.K.Chesterton, and even P.G.Wodehouse. Dame Agatha Christie  is here, of course, as well.  As the insert of the book says, this is the "first hardcover anthology devoted entirely to mystery, crime, and detective stories set in the specialized and surprisingly dangerous world of the manor."

The dust jacket is a bit dog-eared but otherwise, English Country House Murders is in perfectly eerie-reading shape. 
More Tea, Vicar?-- "Gentle Teatime Classic". "Music on the theme of tea, with a hint of coffee thrown in for those who like their caffeine from beans, not leaves! A light-hearted brew of old favourites and familiar songs for tongue in cheek listening while sipping the glorious nectar which is tea!"
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment. Start off by telling us of a lovely house-museum you've visited, or perhaps how you may have been influenced by Billy Graham at some point in your life.

Warmest Blessings,

Billy Graham Library and Bookstore photos from All other photos copyright 2013 of Linore Rose Burkard.     


chaplaindebbie said...

First of all...Yay!! Thank you so much, Linore.
I have never visited any house/museums that I can recall. Sad, I know. I would love to visit the Billy Graham House Museum; he is such an inspiration. I've also heard so much about the Shirley Plantation and would love to visit there as my dreams. Thankfully, there are wonderful people, such as yourself, willing to share your own pictures and experiences.
Hugs and God bless.

Linore Burkard said...

The Shirley Plantation....sounds familiar but I can't place it. Do tell more. :) And, I'm glad you won! Thanks for your faithful presence here on the blog, Deb.
Hugs right back!

chaplaindebbie said...

Here is a link to some info:

I've heard a lot about it through Carrie Fancett Pagels over on her blogs...and through her new novella.
She has visited it several times and makes it sound so wonderful...full of a lot of history.

Have a great night!

Pat Cochran said...

We've visited several house museums here in Texas. but the ones that linger in my mind are the Sam Houston home and the LBJ home. We enjoyed learning more about our Texas history.

Pat C.

Pat Cochran said...

OOPS! Forgot my email:

Pat C.

Mary Preston said...

It's been quite a while since I visited any house museums. My Mother was always very fond, so as a family we would trail along behind. I think I would appreciate it a lot more now.


Linore Burkard said...

Thanks for the link, Deb. I'll definitely check it out. Pat, someday I hope to visit that great country of Texas! And, Mary, I'm sure you would really appreciate those house museums, now. I try to do them with my girls and my husband--but my boys are happy to pass on the pleasure, lol.

Jo said...

I love the recipe for one thing and will have to try that.

I haven't visited a house museum in so long that I can't even remember where it was. I do like Billy Graham and we have family in North Carolina that we are thinking of going to visit this summer so will make a trip to his house museum.


Linore Burkard said...

How neat that you'll get to the Billy Graham Library (and House Museum), Jo! I hope you let me know how you like it. Thanks for stopping by, and entering the drawing. :)