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Changing Exhibits

Through mid August, 2017:

Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies

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Who We Are

 

Mount Airy Museum of Regional History

museum001 Ours is an all American story - typical of how communities grew up all across our great nation. While our story takes place in the back country of northwestern North Carolina at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is likely to bear many similarities to the development of crossroads, towns, and cities throughout America.

It had taken little more than 100 years for the corridors along the coastline of this still-new continent to overflow. As tensions grew and conflicts flared, the pioneer spirit set in. Families literally packed up everything they owned and headed into the unknown-searching for the "promised land."

Mission Statement:

The Purpose of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is to  Collect, Preserve and Interpret the Natural, Historic, and Artistic Heritage of the Region

                                                                      Adopted by the Board of Directors   October 9, 1995


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Mount Airy Museum Of Regional History

Aaron Blackwelder pottery workshop set for Saturday at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History

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The next session in a series of workshops at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History will feature the art of pottery, while another museum program, set for Sunday, has been canceled.  On Saturday the museum will host a pottery workshop at 1 p.m.  The event is part of an ongoing series of programs at the museum. In February and March the museum hosted an arts show. In exchange for having their work on display, the artists and craft makers who took part in the show are hosting sessions with the public.  A blacksmith workshop and a bead embroidery workshop have already been held as part of the series of events, and stained glass and painting workshops will follow this.  Museum Executive Director Matt Edwards said the four-hour workshop will be led by Aaron Blackwelder from Elkin. Participants will use basket-weave pottery skills to make a pot.  “It’s a great chance to get your hands dirty and have some fun,” added Edwards. Participants will have the opportunity to make their pot, and Blackwelder will fire the pottery at his workshop. Those who take part in the workshop will then be able to pick their pot up at the museum.  The fee to take part in the workshop is $25 for museum members and $30 for non-members. The class is limited to 12 participants. Thus, Edwards said advance registration for the event is strongly encouraged.  Those interested in participating may call the museum at 786-4478 to reserve their spot.

Edwards also said the monthly History Talks program which was scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled.  History Talks is a series of programs in which the museum brings in historians from the region to speak about their areas of expertise. The events are held in the spring and fall.  Edwards said Sunday’s event was scheduled to be the second of three talks in the spring. However, museum staff were unable to find a speaker without scheduling conflicts.  That stated, Edwards noted History Talks will be back in May. On May 7, a paleontologist from the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, Virginia, will speak as part of the series.

History Talks series kicks off at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History

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A presentation that looks at local opposition to slavery during the 1800s will kick off another season of an ongoing educational program offered at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.  On Sunday at 2 p.m. the museum renews its spring season of History Talks, a program which brings historians and scholars from the surrounding area to Mount Airy to present and lead a discussion in their respective areas of expertise. Museum executive director Matt Edwards said Sunday will be a bit of a homecoming for the historian the museum will welcome. Douglas Porter Jr. is the downtown cultural resources director for the city of Raleigh, but is originally from Surry County. Porter earned his doctorate in history with an emphasis on the American South from the University of Mississippi, according to a statement regarding Sunday’s program. His primary interest, however, is the Surry County area during the 1800s.

Porter’s program, “Opposition to Slavery and Antislavery Efforts in the Surry County Area,” will focus on how people from Grayson County, Virginia, to Guilford County opposed slavery both actively and passively. In his statement, Porter notes the program “will explore this fascinating, yet virtually forgotten, piece of local and regional history.” Edwards said he believes the content of the talk should help the turnout on Sunday.

“There are always great crowds for our Civil War-themed programs,” explained Edwards. “It’s a theme which appeals to the local audience.” The talks usually attract a crowd of 20 to 30 people, added Edwards. The museum director said he has high hopes for Sunday’s program, as he believes weather may not play quite the role it has in past years in driving attendance. “The weather is always a question mark. People don’t want to spend the first nice day of the spring inside,” Edwards elaborated. “But we have had nice, pretty spring days all winter long.” While the first of the three programs included in the spring months is set for Sunday, Edwards noted he is still working to organize the next two. He would like to tie the second two talks to the museum’s visiting exhibit, Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs & Babies.

He said he is looking forward to seeing how those programs are received, as the dinosaur exhibit has been well received by the surrounding community. The events are free to the public and take place on the second floor of the museum.

Dinosaurs on display at museum

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Dinosaurs have returned at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.  The museum is playing host to a Tiny Titans: Dinosaurs Eggs & Babies exhibit until the end of May. It opened to the public on Saturday. “It went really well,” said museum executive director Matt Edwards, noting he did not have attendance numbers available. Edwards said Saturday the museum saw a much higher than normal turn-out, especially for the month of February. “A lot of folks came just for the exhibit.” added Edwards. “I’m pretty optimistic about this one.”

According to Edwards, the exhibit offers a rare opportunity for local residents to learn about dinosaurs. The nearest permanent dinosaur exhibits are located in Raleigh, Asheville and Martinsville, Virginia. Since the museum has a fairly small area in which it can play host to a traveling exhibit, dinosaur babies and eggs were a more realistic manner to display dinosaurs than full-size dinosaurs might have been. Edwards described the set-up process of the exhibit as a little tough, noting the museum was “a little tight on space.” However, he is pleased with the way it turned out. Edwards explained the exhibit tells the tale of dinosaurs through hands-on and visual displays. Children can dig in sand for fossils, read about dinosaurs or view renderings of baby dinosaurs.

The dinosaur displays tap into a new area for the museum. Edwards explained his organization will be placing more emphasis on the sciences, as the museum is a recent recipient of a $62,000 grant from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. The grant was used to fund the Tiny Titans exhibit and a new education position at the museum. It will also fund a few more temporary exhibits, according to Edwards. Edwards said a grand opening for the exhibit, scheduled as a “mid-exhibit revival” will occur at some point in March. That “Dino-day” will include additional activities.

The dinosaur exhibit can be viewed during the museum’s regular operating hours, which are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for students. Children 4 years old and younger may enter for free. No additional fee is assessed to view the Tiny Titans displays.  The museum is located at 301 North Main St. in Mount Airy and may be reached at 786-4478.

Grant to fund exhibit, education position

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For about 165 million years dinosaurs walked the earth, and they’ll soon be making a return trip to Mount Airy. On Feb. 18 the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History will open a traveling exhibit called Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs & Babies. The exhibit will be on display through the end of May. Museum executive director Matt Edwards said he has worked with the contracted company before and knows that it offers a tremendous product.  The exhibit will offer hands-on components and displays, and Edwards hopes it will be a big hit, as the nearest museums which offer dinosaur exhibits are located in Raleigh, Asheville and Martinsville, Virginia.  Of course, the Mount Airy museum isn’t exactly ready to play host to a full-size tyrannosaurus rex, said Edwards.  “Our temporary exhibit space is fairly small,” said Edwards in explaining the exhibit will tell the story of dinosaurs by way of smaller baby dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs.  The exhibit even features a model of a baby triceratops on which people can sit for a photo opportunity. Edwards said he was lucky enough to schedule the exhibit between its showings at two other museums, allowing for some cost-savings.  According to Edwards, the baby dinosaur exhibit will tap into an area which is a little new for his organization — the sciences. That’s important since the funding for the exhibit will come by way of a natural sciences grant.  “It’s a huge grant for us,” said Edwards.

The museum recently received a $62,000 grant from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, explained Edwards. It’s a one-year, renewable grant which is contingent on continued funding from the legislature. The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences handed out $2.3 million in such grants statewide, with emphasis going to museums which receive little or no state funding and operate in under-served communities.  One condition of the grant is that money be put toward the sciences, said Edwards. However, the grant is enough money to fund a number of exhibits, offer some general operating dollars and allow the museum to reinstate a position it has operated without since 2010.

Education director

Edwards said one area in which the museum has failed to make headway in recent years is the continued development of education programs. In 2010, “circumstances following the recession” made it necessary for the museum to trim its staff. One position cut was the education position.  With the new funding, Edwards is getting ready to post the position, which was included in the museum’s grant application.  Though current museum staff members have kept the education programs at the museum running throughout the past six years, Edwards said the museum has done “nothing extensive in new program development.” Participation in the programs from local schools is also not as extensive as it once was.  Edwards said one task for the new staff member will be to find ways to link the history lessons the museum offers with the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum schools are now using.  “This position will offer a tremendous opportunity to reconnect with the education community and the community as a whole,” noted Edwards.  Edwards explained the first task for the education director will be a complete overhaul of the museum’s education programs. Some successful portions of the programs will remain in place, while the museum may end others. New programs will be offered eventually.  The person will also lead a teachers advisory committee, comprised of volunteer teachers, to ensure the museum is offering programs which are helpful to local schools and that the programs align with the curriculum taught to local youngsters.

Edwards said he’s looking forward to the dinosaur exhibit, a revamping of the education program and other exciting opportunities which the new grant will help to fund.

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