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All of the information you, or your group will need to plan a visit to the museum, including our schedule, hours, rates & more!

If you are planning a visit for a school group, please see our "For Educators" section.

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Changing Exhibits

Now Open:

Main Street Memories Exhibit

June 14 through November 1, 2014

Upcoming Events

Fri Jul 25 @ 3:00PM -
The Darker Side of Mayberry Tour
Fri Jul 25 @ 8:00PM - 08:30PM
Historic Mount Airy Ghost Tours
Sat Aug 09 @ 2:00PM -
Summer Storytelling Saturdays

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

Spinning a yarn - Master storyteller set to entertain Saturday

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They don’t know what the topic will be but organizers say one thing is for sure: It will be fun for the entire family.  The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History has set the second of three summer storytelling events for Saturday at 2 p.m., according to museum Director Matt Edwards.   “This is a program we started last year to kind of break up the museum’s History Talks program with something that may be more universal in appeal,” Edwards said. “We hope that this event appeals to both local residents and out-of-town visitors.”

Saturday’s event features master storyteller Mike Lowe, he added.  Edwards said he had no idea what sort of tales Lowe might tell.  “That’s the great thing about bringing in professional storytellers,” he said, “that I have no idea what the story will be about.”   Lowe, Edwards promised, will simply “come in and weave a story for the audience.”  “He will begin telling a story and will work with the type of crowd on hand to make it fun and enjoyable for everyone,” Edwards said. “(Lowe’s) stories, based on my experience, tend to have a connection to his early life, but I don’t know what he will be talking about. We give the storytellers free rein on these things.”

Lowe is a professional storyteller who travels extensively promoting the art through storytelling workshops and programs. He most recently lent his talents to the July 4 reading of the Declaration of Independence as part of Mount Airy’s Independence Day celebration.   “He’s also a skilled musician, artist and historic re-enactor,” Edwards said. “I like to call him a renaissance man of the cultural arts.”  Edwards said any story told by Lowe is an experience to behold. “He tends to engage the audience in the story and thrive on audience interaction,” he said. “So I feel sure there will be opportunities for people in the audience to be a part of the story.”

The museum director said he could promise one thing.  "I guarantee that it will be fun for everyone who comes out to hear the story,” he said. “Mike has a long connection with our museum doing programs like this, and we’re always happy to have him come back and spin his yarns.  “It’s an experience not to be missed.”  The event will be held in the courtyard of the museum, weather permitting. In the event of rain, it will be moved inside.  “But the story will be told,” Edwards promised. “Rain or shine.”

The final storytelling event is scheduled for Aug. 9, featuring storyteller Terri Ingalls of Mount Airy.

Museum Receives Award for Geocache Program

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The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History was honored at the North Carolina Museum Council’s annual conference with the Award of Excellence for the “Geocaching for History” program.  Executive Director of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History Matt Edwards said the award was a “reinforcement of the belief that museums should be active and vibrant community partners.”  “That is something we have really been working toward at the museum, and this project is a great example,” Edwards added. “The museum staff, Amy Snyder in particular, have been working very hard on this project over the course of the last 18 months or so. For their hard work and our institution’s efforts to be recognized by a group of peers is a tremendous honor, and we hope it speaks well of the work we are doing and the work we want to continue to do in moving forward.”

The “Geocaching for History” was launched last year when the museum partnered with Mount Airy Parks and Recreation and the Kids in Parks for what Edwards described as a national pilot program. Funding for the program came from Kids in Parks, as well as additional funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, for purchase of the GPS Units. The North Carolina Humanities Council provided implementation money, which Edwards said allowed “broad regional implementation” for the geocache program.

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting activity using GPS-enabled devices. The GPS units are available for rent for $5 each from the museum as well as Reeves Community Center. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the cache hidden at that location.  Edwards said there are 22 geocaching sites around the region that were researched by the museum, with caches designed and placed in each location, as well as a corresponding online exhibit. Each site can be discovered by participants and if they have a smart phone with a QR code reader, they are able to see additional interpretive material about the site, including history about the location and sometimes corresponding video and photos.  “This is a great way for us to teach local history where it happened, not just within the four walls of the museum,” Edwards shared.

Edwards invited anyone who wanted to participate to visit the museum or Reeves Community Center to rent the GPS units. The $5 rental fee per GPS unit, per day, will go into a pool of money that will be used to upgrade the program. All GPS units come loaded with the 22 cache sites, and the units will give varying degrees of directions to locate the sites. Seven of the sites are located on the Emily B. Taylor and Ararat River Greenway Trails.  Participants select which cache they want to search for, then follow the directions on the screen, which will lead to the approximate coordinates, then an audible chime will let them know when they are close and clues are available to assist with the treasure hunt of sorts. “The treasure you are seeking is knowledge,” Edwards added.  Caches range in size from small, about the size of a double-A battery, to larger caches the size of a two-quart water bottle. In addition to the museum’s GPS caches, there are about six to ten other locations within walking distance of the downtown area, Edwards shared.

The activity is great for families, visitors, school groups, scout troop, and anyone who wants to be outdoors and in nature, as well as those who have an interest in local history. Edwards shared that the museum is in the process of developing materials and activities for classroom use of the GPS units.  The award, one of three given out to North Carolina museums, were designed to recognize, encourage, and promote excellence within activities of the museum community and organizations in related fields of interest. The awards are focused on programs, projects, and services offered by museums.

For more information about the GPS program and rental of the units, contact the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History at 786-4478.

Darker Side of Mayberry Tour Tickets

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 The Darker Side of Mayberry Tours will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 3pm beginning Saturday May 31, 2014 and ending the last weekend of October.

To pay for a reservation ($11) for one of the Darker Side of Mayberry Tours, please select which date you would like from the dropdown menu below.

Select The Date


Museum hosts Batik Easter Egg workshops

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The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History will host the popular Easter Egg Workshop on Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m. A second class will be held on April 5 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The classes filled up quickly last year, so Matthew Edwards, museum director, encouraged everyone to sign up as soon as possible. Call to reserve a spot in the workshop by Friday for this Saturday’s class, or by April 4 for the April 5 class.  The workshop is for age 12 through adults, and will be held in the museum’s second floor classroom. Class size is limited to 15 participants. The cost is $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members, which will include supplies. Also, $20 take-home kits are available for participants; kits muse be ordered at the time of registration.

The Ukrainian tradition of decorating eggs with wax is called pysanky, and dates back to 1300 BC. The ancient practice uses traditional motifs that date back even further, to 3000 BC, and many examples were provided for the students in last year’s workshops by the class instructor, Maria Skaskiw.  Skaskiw told last year’s workshop participants that she learned the art of decorating the eggs as a child, growing up in a Ukranian community in New York.

“I was fascinated by it and the history — it goes back thousands of years. There are variations on the motifs, endless variations. I also love the legends behind the art form. My favorite legend says that as long as people keep writing the Easter eggs, evil will not triumph in this world,” said Skaskiw.  The students used a kistka, which is the tool used to “paint” the beeswax onto the surface of the eggs. The tool is heated by a candle flame, then dipped in beeswax. The wax is mixed with black soot, so those painting the eggs can see the designs easily on the eggshell.

Skaskiw guided the students through the process, and encouraged them with a reminder that they must “keep a long, steady stroke” when applying the wax, so it will not pool or drip. “The trick is keeping the kistka hot and going straight to the egg when you dip it in the wax.”  After the egg was painted with beeswax, it was dipped into the first dye. Then, the beeswax is applied on top, preserving the color for later. This process is repeated over and over, until the design is complete. Skaskiw told the students they could make the designs as complicated or as simple as they wanted.

“In the end, the wax may be covering the egg, making it black in color, but then you remove the wax and it is like, ahhhh, it looks beautiful!”

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