A self-guided tour of the Museum can be an exciting and educational experience. The foundation of the tour is laid when you read the inscription on the large granite panel near the reception desk, and then look up at the 100-foot mural. The mural is an accurate painting of the surrounding mountains, reproduced from timed, still photographs. The tour begins with a stop at the natural history exhibit, a visit to the Native American and Saura Indian wigwam and then on to an exhibit about the world's largest open-face granite quarry. Travel through time along the mighty Yadkin River and learn about life in a log cabin, the region's early settlers and communities, and early commerce.
Next, visit a turn-of-the-century general store, a train depot and a 70-foot scale model railroad that takes you from Sanford, North Carolina to Kibler Valley in Virginia. The lower level of the Museum is home to three American La France fire engines - dated 1916, 1926, and 1946. The recreated living quarters of the firefighters are also on exhibit. Turn-of-the-century household items in a Victorian parlor, clothing, and toys are part of exhibits located on the second floor of the Museum.
Also featured are exhibits on the Siamese twins Eng and Chang Bunker, Andy Griffith and his heritage, award winning country music singer and song writer Donna Fargo, famous oldtime musician Tommy Jarrell, WPAQ radio station founded by Ralph Epperson plus a Luthier’s Craft: Instrument Making Traditions of the Blue Ridge exhibit featuring changing luthiers and their instruments such as Wayne Henderson, Jayne Henderson, Chris Testerman, Johnny Gentry and Spencer Strickland among others. The War Memorial Exhibit is continually expanding.
Exhibits on our newly renovated third floor include the regional medical story, Model T Fords, tobacco barn, textile, moonshine and winemaking plus a look at the inside of the Merritt Hardware store's office. Children and adults alike will enjoy the "Hands On History" Children’s Gallery also on the third floor. Throughout each year, temporary or traveling exhibits will be on display. A visit to the observation room, located in the clock tower, provides a memorable view of the mountains. Come and enjoy!