The North Carolina Museum of Art

Museum Park

Park Projects

The Museum Park has been transformed over the 30 years since the NCMA opened on Blue Ridge Road, growing from the original 50-acre site in 1983 to the current 164-acre campus of trails amid outdoor sculpture. The Museum Park provides a unique opportunity for experiencing art and active living.


Invasive Species Control
The Museum Park staff includes several horticulturalists and an ecologist. They consult with specialists at N.C. State University to determine how best to handle the kudzu and blackberries on the Museum campus. These invasive species threaten other wildlife such as native trees. Volunteers and staff cut back the vines and bushes and carefully apply chemicals to slow their progress. But these invasive species will never fully disappear, making constant maintenance necessary.

Previous Projects

Blue Loop Trail, April 2013
Through a generous gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the Museum has undertaken a major expansion and revision of Park trails. The centerpiece of the project is a new one-mile trail (the Blue Loop) for walking and cycling that opens a new section of the Park.

Pond Platform (“The Turning Point”), August 2012
The Museum partnered with N.C. State University’s School of Architecture for this project. Graduate students in a summer Design/Build program led by architects Ellen Cassilly and Randy Lanou designed and built a wonderful viewing platform off the wooded path. From its deck visitors have a view across the water back to the Museum, reinforcing connections between Park and galleries while providing a respite and gathering place.

Museum Pond and Sustainable Irrigation System, October 2010
With generous support from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Museum’s retention pond was redesigned to aesthetically control and clean storm water before it enters North Carolina’s streams and rivers. Terraces are planted with native perennials and ornamental grasses. As water moves across these various ecosystems, pollutants are filtered from the water via plant roots and soil particles. The pond renovation is part of a comprehensive storm water management initiative for the 164-acre Museum campus, which also includes a 90,000-gallon underground water storage cistern, rain gardens, and drought-tolerant plantings and fescue lawn.

West Building Landscape, April 2010
The lush sculpture gardens, designed by Lappas + Havener, unite stunning landscape design and sustainable environmental standards. Gravel and paved paths lead to striking works of art, some especially commissioned for the new landscape. Three reflecting ponds filled with beautiful water lilies and lotus plants accent the outdoor gathering spaces. The sustainable water management system ties into the Museum Pond.

Pedestrian Bridge, November 2004
A connector between two pieces of the Reedy Creek Greenway system, the 660-foot-long, 12-foot-wide, triple-arch bridge provides safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists over the busy I–440 Beltline.

If you want to learn more about Museum Park projects, drop us a line.

Park Volunteers 

Visitors are encouraged to volunteer in the Museum Park during designated work days. Work projects include mulching trails, removing exotic species, planting seedlings, removing trash, and maintaining art installations, which could include painting, cleaning, or installing art pieces.

If you are interested in becoming a Museum Park volunteer, complete the volunteer form and contact the Park administrator by email or (919) 664-6742.