Plan Your Visit

Grounds of Palmer Memorial Institute

Founded in 1902 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Palmer Memorial Institute transformed the lives of more than 2,000 African American students. Today, the campus provides the setting where visitors can explore this unique environment where boys and girls lived and learned during the greater part of the 20th century. The museum links Dr. Brown and Palmer Memorial Institute to the larger themes of African American history, women's history, social history, and education, emphasizing the contributions African Americans made in North Carolina.

Hours and Location

Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday, and most major holidays.

6136 Burlington Road
Gibsonville, NC 27249


Admission to the Visitor Center is free. Guided tours of Canary Cottage cost $2 per adult; $1 for children ages 5-12, and seniors. There is no charge for self-guided campus tours.  
Donations are appreciated. 

Group Reservations


Historic Structures
Canary Cottage (ca. 1927), Dr. Brown's personal residence, has been completely restored and appointed with both original and period furnishings. Step back to the days when Dr. Brown played piano in the living room, and taught students how to entertain in the dining room. Window treatments, Oriental rugs, bathroom hardware, and similar features evoke the heyday of the school in the 1940s and 1950s.

Three dormitories, Kimball Dining Hall (1927), the Bell Tower, the Teahouse (campus store), and several teachers' cottages also are viewable on the campus (no interior tours available). 

Visitor Center
The visitor center, housed in the Carrie M. Stone Teachers' Cottage (1948), features exhibits with artifacts, photographs, and information on Dr. Brown, the Palmer Memorial Institute, and African American education in North Carolina.

Trails, Monuments, Outdoor Exhibits
Outdoor exhibit panels tell the story of each building on the Palmer campus. Dr. Brown's gravesite, the Alice Freeman Palmer Building foundation, and the restored Charles W. Bundrige athletic field also are at the site.

The visitor center and Canary Cottage are accessible to all visitors. Sidewalks, drives and handicapped parking spaces have been added to the campus, making it over 90 percent accessible.

Programs and Group Activities
Several events throughout the year focus on the life of Dr. Brown and African American education in North Carolina.

Gift Shop
A gift shop is located in the visitor center with items related to Dr. Brown and African American history.