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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

January 6-March 24, 2018

North Carolina in the Great War

Upcoming Events

Sat Mar 24 @10:00am - 05:00pm
Last Day for the traveling North Carolina in the Great War Exhibit
Sat Mar 24 @ 1:00pm - 04:00pm
Class is Full Batik Easter Egg Workshop Class #2

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

Find Us On Facebook

facebookSimply click the Facebook logo to the left to visit our Facebook page.  Soon you will be able to "Like" individual exhibits and articles throughout the site!


Mount Airy Museum Of Regional History

Facility Rentals

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Rates include time for the use of the space, set-up, use and breakdown of equipment as well as a standard cleaning fee. Pricing does not include security or set up and breakdown charges outside the rental period. Contract Total does not include cost for catering and/or alcohol, décor, linens, or additional furniture rented. The User will be responsible for additional fees for an event that goes beyond the contracted rental time and/or additional staff and/or additional expenses incurred. The User will be invoiced within 7 days after the event date for the additional charges. The User agrees to pay these charges to the Museum within 30 days from the date of the invoice. A late fee of 5% will be applied if payment is not received by the due date.

At the discretion of the Director, security may be required and will be selected from a list of providers, maintained and approved by Museum. The rate is $25.00/hour per security officer with a 2 hour minimum. Payment for the security officer(s) is the responsibility of the User and must be paid separately in cash. One security officer is required for every 75 people expected to attend.

For additional information or if you have questions, please email Group Tours and Events Coordinator, Kate Rauhauser-Smith, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

History Talk focuses on women in wartime

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High winds and residual power outages on Saturday did not keep a capacity crowd from coming out to Mount Airy Museum of Regional History to hear Dr. Angela Robbins’ presentation “North Carolina Women Do Their Bit During World War I.”

Robbins, a “Road Scholar” with the North Carolina Humanities Council, was second in a series of Spring 2018 History Talks at the museum. She received her Ph.D. in U.S. history from UNC Greensboro, where she specialized in women’s history. Saturday’s presentation was based on her dissertation research. She teaches at Meredith College and delivers similar presentations around the state.  “‘Do your bit’ was a popular phrase at the time” began Robbins, a slogan which she adapted to “Do your BIG bit,” to highlight the enormous contributions made by women to the war effort.  Robbins said that American women at the beginning of the twentieth century were already organized into women’s clubs which did civic and humanitarian work in their communities. In North Carolina and most of the South, economies were still suffering following the Civil War, and the women worked through their clubs to do charitable work in their communities.  When Belgium was invaded by Germany, and news reached America of civilians being slaughtered and burned out of their homes, the women tuned their attention to providing relief to them, using the techniques and organization they already had in place.  A State Council of Defense and a National Council of Defense was set up, and a complicated system of committees was developed. Women worked independently of men in women’s auxiliaries. Committees were segregated by race as well as gender. African-American women formed committees to make “comfort kits” to send to black soldiers, not expecting them to receive any of the kits made by white women.

Robbins showed a series of posters that adapted a two-pronged approach to war propaganda involving women. Some of the posters showed wise, nurturing maternal figures and others focused on flirtatious images of scantily clad women.  Early on in the war effort, women did the kind of work traditionally considered “women’s work.” “Girls, you were born knowing how to sew and change a diaper, weren’t you?” Robbins asked the audience.  Women were expected to help with shortages of wheat, meat, dairy and sugar by observing “Meatless Tuesdays” and “Wheatless Wednesday” to help starving women and children in Belgium. Home demonstration agents taught women the newly developed techniques of home canning food and provided a recipe for a butter substitute, consisting of gelatin, milk and oleomargarine.

By the time the United States finally entered the war in 1917, groups of college women had taken on typically male roles and were actually growing food.  These “farmerettes,” as they called themselves, donned middy blouses, khaki skirts and brogans to go out to farms and drive the tractors themselves. Motorized tractors were a relatively new technology at the time and not many male farmers drove them, much less women. The farmerettes, Robbins noted, prepared their own lunch, and did not rely on farmer’s wives to cook for them as the men did.  Two causes for which women had been organizing even before the war, temperance and women’s suffrage, took the back burner for some women during the war, but not for others. This was a point of contention, but within two years of war’s end the temperance movement had brought about Prohibition and the suffragettes gained the vote for women.

The traveling exhibit, “North Carolina in the Great War,” exhibit will be at the museum until March 24. The final Spring 2018 History Talk, “First in Forestry” will be April 15 at 2 p.m. It will be a combination film screening and talk, presented by James Lewis, historian of the Forest History Center and the Emmy-winning film, “First in Forestry: Carl Schenk and the Biltmore Forest School,” will be screened.

Surry WWI general is museum talk topic

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One hundred years ago, what was then known as The Great War was raging in Europe — but many area residents might be unaware of the key role a Surry Countian played in that conflict. This will be highlighted Saturday during a presentation at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History which will focus on Henry Butner, an accomplished World War I Army general who was born and raised in Pinnacle.

The program titled “General Henry Wolfe Butner: From Farm to Military Fame” is scheduled at 2 p.m. on the third floor of the museum in downtown Mount Airy and is free and open to the public. That “fame” included Butner briefly serving as the commanding officer of Fort Bragg. During World War I, he was sent to France with the American Expeditionary Force and commanded an artillery brigade as a brigadier general. Butner was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Saturday’s program will be led by local historian Marion Venable, with the event kicking off a spring History Talks series at the museum which has been under way for more than a decade. Two other sessions are slated in March and April, including a focus on how North Carolina women aided America’s cause in World War I on March 3.

That war is being highlighted through programming this year at the local museum, which also includes its recent opening of a World War I exhibit, as part of statewide efforts celebrating the centennial of the conflict’s end in November 1918. Special programs such as the one Saturday are helping people today understand a war that in many ways has been under-represented compared to the wealth of material produced about World War II and the Civil War. But that century-old conflict has special significance, according to Sonya Laney, director of education and programs at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. “World War I was nicknamed ‘the war to end all wars,”’ Laney said, “which ended up being quite ironic.” Only about 20 years later, another world war would be getting under way which proved to be the most massive conflict in the history of mankind. Harsh conditions in Germany after 1918 fueled the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party in the 1930s. Historians also consider World War I to be the first “modern” conflict. “It is really a fascinating war — the technological advances,” Laney said.

On March 3 at 2 p.m. at the museum, North Carolina Humanities Council “Road Scholar” Dr. Angela Robbins is scheduled to discuss the ways North Carolina women contributed to the World War I effort. This will include both the home front and overseas. That program is made possible by funding from the council, a statewide non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Family searches yield results

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A massive search was waged this past weekend in which members of multiple families were sought. It didn’t involve rescue crews scouring the countryside for missing children or senior citizens, but an effort staged quietly Saturday within the confines of Mount Airy Museum of Regional History — though almost as intense in terms of motivation.

The Surry County Genealogical Association Ancestor Fair, held at the museum for the fourth year, attracted people searching for something reflecting a unique brand of elusiveness: information about folks from whom they are descended. Researching one’s family tree can be a tedious, challenging — and sometimes-frustrating — process filled with dead ends, wild goose chases and other pitfalls in the seemingly never-ending quest for names, dates and other facts. But Saturday’s Ancestor Fair provided a fertile ground for those wanting to connect to their roots.

The third floor of the downtown museum was abuzz with activity, including computer stations offering free and unencumbered access to online genealogy services including and FamilySearch, which normally require paying fees or establishing accounts. Non-digital resources also were well-represented with tables displaying genealogy charts, tax and other public records, books on area history and information assembled to aid others interested in surnames common to this region. “People have brought their family histories to show people … scrapbooks — everything,” said President Esther Johnson of the Surry County Genealogical Association. Aside from the records aspect, members of the association were out in force to provide assistance, along with representatives of historical organizations in Patrick and Carroll counties in Virginia.

The Ancestor Fair drew folks from near and far. “I think it’s well done,” said Joyce Lee Kanter of Winston-Salem, who was attending the local genealogy event for the first time. “And the folks I’ve talked to have been very knowledgeable and very approachable,” added Kanter. “If they have any information, they’re willing to share.” The Winston-Salem resident specifically came looking for her ancestral details about Johnsons who lived in Stokes and Patrick counties, and also the Thore surname. Betty Rogers of Pilot Mountain, meanwhile, was making good use of the and FamilySearch station, where she sought information about a great-grandmother named Hayes who long ago migrated from Statesville to Surry County by wagon. As is often the case with genealogy, some family lines are easier to track than others, which Rogers exemplified Saturday while holding up a copy of the Surry County Heritage Book, Volume II. It is a thick tome containing a wealth of information — but not everything. “I’ve got my story in here,” Rogers said of her basic family history, “but I don’t know much about the Hayeses.”

While ferreting out such history can be painstaking and often tests researchers’ patience, Johnson, the Genealogical Association president, said computer technology has been a tremendous boost in streamlining information collection. To a large extent, the digital indexing of birth, marriage, death and other records has eliminated the need to pore through dusty materials — which was once the only method available. “It was a slow process,” Johnson said of the time when hitting the “print” button wasn’t an option for persons retrieving vital information. “They had to write it down.”

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