Museums & Historical Resources

Museums & Historical Resources

Hickory Ridge Homestead:


The Hickory Ridge Homestead Living History Museum is located in Boone and is part of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association, producers of the third oldest outdoor drama, the Horn in the West. The drama is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, but the museum has a host of other learning and cultural experiences available.

Hickory Ridge Homestead has eight log buildings on its grounds. The buildings date from 1785 to the early 1930s. All the buildings, with the exception of the smokehouse, came from different locations in Watauga county, North Carolina. The smokehouse was built on-site using 18th century tools. Also completed this year is a Civil War-style earthworks and cannon display.

Events this year include a Civil War encampment from June 8th to June 10th, a storytelling festival on June 9th, a traditional Fourth of July celebration, the Firefly Festival on August 4th. Other events include a Saturday performing artists series, a Friday master craftsman series, local author discussions, early American skills workshops, an Introduction to Appalachian Studies course, and guest lecturers.

The Homestead is free to the general public, although they do have a donation box on the grounds. Suggested donation is $2.00. The grounds are open year round for self-guided tours. The buildings are open with costumed interpreters during the following times: Saturdays, 9:00 4:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. From mid-June thru mid-August, it's open Tuesday-Sunday,1:00 to 8:30 p.m., and from mid-August thru October, the hours are Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. 828-264-2120.

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Native American Artifacts Museum & Dougherty House:

What started 60 years ago with a handful of arrowheads has blossomed into a collection of more than 50,000 Native American artifacts. The collection includes arrowheads, spearheads, knives, stone scrapers, moccasins, hide-manufacturing tools, pipes, bowls, pottery, bows and arrows from a wide range of time periods They are available for viewing at the Native American Artifacts Museum on Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock.

Just beside it is the Appalachian Heritage Museum, also known as the Dougherty House, was built in 1903 by brothers D.D. and B.B. Dougherty, the founders of Appalachian State University. The house contains turn-of-the-century antiques and information about the Dougherty family, which was one of the most influential in early High Country history. It shows visitors how some mountain families lived at the turn of the century.

Avery County Museum:

The Avery County Museum is dedicated to preserving the local history of Avery County. Visitors can use the museum to as a resource for local information as well. The displays include numerous photographs, recordings, period clothing, a typewriter, political memorabilia, and more on country music legend Scotty and Lula Belle Wiseman.

Other features include the history of medicine in the area, basketball star Tommy Burleson, one of the state's oldest existing intact jail facilities, native author Gloria Houston, and numerous other traditional and cultural exhibits.

The museum is open 10 AM to 4 PM on Fridays, and 11 AM to 3 PM. It's located beside the courthouse in the Newland Town Square.

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Museum of NC Minerals:

The Museum of North Carolina Minerals is located near Spruce Pine at Milepost 331, Blue Ridge Parkway at Highway 226. The museum features many of the rich materials found in the Blue Ridge as well as the historical applications, mining processes, and core samples. Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through October. 704-765-2761.

Blowing Rock Pictoral Museum:

Blowing Rock is home of the Blowing Rock Pictorial Museum, a small history museum operated by volunteers from the Blowing Rock Historical Society. The museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays only, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. It features old newspapers, antiques, pictures, old medicine bottles, memorabilia from the town and some of the area's oldest hotels. The building itself is located near Memorial Park and was built in 1884 as one of the cottages of the now-defunct Watauga Inn. 828-295-6114.

Appalachian Cultural Museum:

The Appalachian Cultural Museum, part of Appalachian State University, was created to foster an understanding of the people of the Appalachian Mountains and to serve as a laboratory for new museum ideas. Through exhibits, publications, and special events, the Museum presents the rich traditions of the region. The Museum gives new meaning to life in western North Carolina in a manner that is authentic and non-stereotypical.

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Ashe County Courthouse:

Work is progressing on the conversion of the 1904 Ashe County Courthouse in Jefferson to a railroad museum and Visitor's Center; that work should be complete by summer, 2003.

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