Photo courtesy of John I. Rogers.
Activities & Interests
Wilkes Heritage Museum
The Wilkes Heritage Museum in Wilkesboro, North Carolina offers an eclectic array of exhibits drawn from local history including early stock-car racing, moonshining, early settlement, medicine, military history, and traditional music. The museum is also home to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame.
Artifacts on display include Junior Johnson's first racecar, seats from the North Wilkesboro Speedway, a moonshine still from the 1800s, pieces of Kennedy pottery, and a variety of materials related to black history, early industries, religion, and the military.
Guided tours include the museum, which is housed in the beautiful 1902 former Wilkes County Courthouse, the Old Wilkes Jail, and Robert Cleveland Log Home. Built in 1859, the jail is one of the best examples of its type of architecture still in existence in North Carolina. The Robert Cleveland Log Home was constructed in 1779 and is one of the oldest house still standing in Wilkes County.
The Wilkes Heritage Museum also offers seasonal events including a Veterans Ceremony, concerts, book signings, and a Christmas Open House each December. Ghost tours of the haunted sites in downtown Wilkesboro are given on select evenings in the summer and fall. Tour groups are welcome and special activities are available for school groups.
Hours of Operation
Tuesday - Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays.
Seniors (age 55 & older) and students: $5
Children (age 4 & under): free
The museum is self-guided; tours of the Old Jail and Cleveland House are guided. Guides for the museum are provided for every school group and/or by request. Admission fee includes guided tours of the Old Wilkes Jail and Robert Cleveland Log Home. Guided tours are offered at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm Tuesday through Saturday. There are additional charges for some special programs. Call for details.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
The Wilkes Heritage Museum is located in the historic courthouse in downtown Wilkesboro, NC. From Hwy 421, take exit 286B. Head East on Main Street toward downtown. The museum is approximately 2 miles on the left in the white courthouse.
Wilkes Heritage Museum
100 East Main Street
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
- Old Wilkes Jail (1 mile)
Built in 1859, the Old Wilkes Jail held Union prisoners and stored Confederate provisions and ammunition during the Civil War.
- Town of North Wilkesboro (1 mile)
North Wilkesboro is sometimes called the "Key to the Blue Ridge".
- Wilkesboro (2 miles)
Nestled in the rolling foothills of northwestern North Carolina, the quaint town of Wilkesboro