No trip to Charlotte, North Carolina would be complete without a day at the Billy Graham Library, a 40,000-square-foot museum dedicated to the life and legacy of “America’s Pastor.” Built on 20 landscaped acres, the Library is built to look like a dairy farm, a reminder of Graham’s humble roots as the son of a dairy farmer. In the library, visitors can experience a presentation of Graham’s life and ministry through interactive exhibits, photos, memorabilia, and multimedia displays. His boyhood home has been restored a short walk from the main Library building, which also houses a bookstore, a restaurant, and a prayer garden with Graham’s grave.
The Library has hosted over a million visitors since its opening in 2007, the entrance to which is shaped like a cross, a reminder to visitors of Graham’s message. The tour includes multimedia presentations of the message Billy Graham has extended to millions of revival audience members in 185 countries over 60 years as an evangelical preacher.
Experience Graham’s Gospel
The home Billy Graham lived in as a child until he left for college has been restored and is filled with some of the Graham family’s personal items and family photos. Meticulously restored with 80 percent of the original materials, the Graham family home will give you a close-up look at Billy Graham’s roots. Several thousand bricks and all the wood flooring from the first story are among the original building materials used in the restoration process. The interior features some furnishings and authentic period-specific appliances as well as Graham family memorabilia, a look into the past.
Ruth’s Attic Bookstore is located inside the Billy Graham Library, named for Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, who loved to read. Here visitors can browse for gifts, Bibles, and Christian works, including books written by the Grahams. The bookstore offers special editions written by Billy and Ruth Graham as well as an impressive selection of Bibles. Visitors will also find gifts, sermons on DVD, Christian music CDs, collectibles, home decor, and Library apparel.
Discover a Life and Legacy
Also located inside the Billy Graham Library is the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar which seats 140. The décor continues the dairy barn theme: the booths look like stalls; the tables have cow-print tablecloths, and milk cans and family photos create the feeling of being on the Graham farm. Although the dairy theme continues with the menu’s milkshakes and ice cream, visitors can also enjoy sandwiches, salads, and cookies, including Mother Graham’s chicken salad, the Billy Frank hot dog, BBQ, fresh-baked cookies, and pound cake.
After the tour of the library and book store and lunch at the Dairy Bar, visitors can enjoy the Memorial Prayer Garden on the grounds as a peaceful place to meditate next to the graves of Billy and Ruth Graham. Admission to the Billy Graham Library is free, and visitors to Charlotte will count themselves in august company, indeed, to enjoy a space that was visited by former Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush on the day it was dedicated, May 31, 2007.
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