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“Saura Indians to Siamese Twins, this one has a bit of everything...”

Mount Airy Museum of Regional History
Ranked #8 of 35 things to do in Mount Airy
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Mebane, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
159 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
“Saura Indians to Siamese Twins, this one has a bit of everything...”
Reviewed January 4, 2014

I would be tempted to say that this is one of the nicest small museums I have every visited, however I can't. It's actually not that small..... It is however, quite attractive. The Mount Airy area has a wide variety of interesting historical features, and the museum covers most of them quite well, from the Native Saura people who once lived here, to the Granite quarrying industry, to moonshining, to Donna Fargo. There are stuffed turkeys and deer, fire engines (the kids can slide down a fire pole and ring a foot operated fire bell), old weaving looms and a recreated pioneer cabin and tobacco barn. There is a display on the extensive folk music traditions of the area, including how to make a banjo or fiddle. And, yes, there's a small bit on Andy Griffith, but they leave most of that to the other museum in Mount Airy. On the fourth floor (yes, they have four floors, and an elevator) there are several activities the children will enjoy, including an area with huge foam logs that can be used to build a small log cabin, and stations where the kids can try on old period clothing. My nine year old daughter loved it.

For those among us who are fascinated by the strange and offbeat, there is a nice display on Chang and Eng Bunker, the famous "Siamese Twins" who retired to the Mount Airy area after making a tidy sum exhibiting themselves all over the world. They both married (to different women) and had numerous kids each, some of whose descendants still live in the area.

There was plenty of parking within a block or two, and it's in easy walking distance of the Snappy Lunch and Floyd's Barber shop. The gentleman working the info desk was very friendly and helpful. I'd strongly suggest you stop by if you're in the area. Fee was $6 for adults and $4 for kids, which I thought was pretty resonable considering all they have.

Visited January 2014
Thank Tyaskin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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110 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Want to know the origin of "house warming"?”
Reviewed December 26, 2013

Coming from the UK, having married into an American family based in Mt Airy, I finally got the chance to visit the Museum of Regional History and find out a lot more about the development of this friendly town. This was a bonus visit, rather than a planned excursion, and will merit from a longer visit than I was able to make this time round. Bank on 3-4 hours to see everything and read everything.

Greeted with customary and sincere politeness, we paid the inexpensive fee to enter and spent 2 hours perusing exhibits across 4 floors. It would have been longer, but my 9 year old finally lost the will to live, or at least, read another information board.

He did enjoy the observation floor...the highest point in a building in Mount Airy from where you can see 360 of the surrounding area, with panoramic photos to explain the vistas and landmarks.

I really could have spent a lot longer reading and absorbing. Absolutely comprehensive story from early settlers, through the arrival of the railroad and on to the more modern day. Famous people hailing from the town, a moonshine still, conjoined twins, an original log cabin..too much to write here. Fascinating, well presented, immaculate and informative. There are elements to satisfy all ages, with different levels of appreciation of museums and history.

Being from UK, with millennia of history to indulge, it is lovely to come to a country where the civilised nation is still only a little over 500 years old, and the origins are still visible at every turn. I aim to come back next time with more time to spend and a greater thirst for local and national history.

An inexpensive gift shop was a bonus - far too often, these places try and fleece you for even more money, but we took away several souvenirs to remind us of our trip.

A good value and very pleasant and enlightening experience in a wonderful and friendly family town.

Visited December 2013
Thank rawmusic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Hidden Treasure”
Reviewed December 26, 2013

This museum is an absolute treasure and should be a required stop for visitors. The displays are excellent and informative. The fire trucks on display are amazing; as is the early Indian information. I have been to the state museum in Raleigh and this ranks at the same level of that-just on a smaller scale. The top floor (the 4th I think) has an excellent view of the area. From this vantage point you can look and see all of the surrounding area. It is actually the highest point in Mt. Airy (not that this is saying much.) there are photos and labels to help you identify what you are looking at and in which direction. When I was in Seattle I went to the top of the Space Needle and viewed the surrounding area from there.......this is similar-but on a MUCH smaller scale.

Visited November 2013
Thank Marcia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great way to spend a few hours”
Reviewed November 17, 2013

This is nice museum we visited when we had some unexpected free time on our Andy Griffith odyssey. It was my favorite part of out trip to Mount Airy and my wife enjoyed it too. The staff is helpful and will chat with you about any questions you have. It has lots of information about the granite quarry which I never knew existed. (We later took a drive up to scenic view of the granite quarry and it was a super site to see.) The museum has nice collection of local artifacts as well as many written placards. There are three old fire trucks in the basement and you can see where the building was built around a rock outcropping which was too massive to remove. The huge timbers in the basement are a sight to see in themselves. This is a nice visitor-friendly place. But it may not interest small children, although they have a children's room.

Visited November 2013
Thank GeorgiaRobert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, New York
Level 6 Contributor
114 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Interesting Information”
Reviewed November 10, 2013

This is worth a visit if you're in town. It's a neat view into some of the local history, including bootleggers and the owners of the vinyard who pretty much built / own the bulk of the town.

Visited April 2013
Thank Isaiah S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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