A fierce desire for independence led rugged 18th century immigrants from the port of Philadelphia down the Great Wagon Road and into “The Hollows” of North Carolina. This beautiful valley is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and became a settling place for pioneers. Their story is told at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History in Mount Airy, NC.
The Hollows was first surveyed by Joshua Frye and Peter Jefferson, father of Thomas Jefferson, who mapped the land in 1749. This unique land formation can be seen from the top of the museum’s bell tower and in a 360-degree panoramic photograph on display in the museum’s main gallery.
The museum collection comprises a wide variety of artifacts and photos which depict the history of the Hollows, beginning with the area’s natural history, the story of its famous granite quarry (the largest open surface quarry in the world), and the lives of the Saura Indians of the 1600s.
Among the museum’s other permanent exhibits are those that show life in a typical pioneer village, including a cutaway of a log cabin and a general store. Photo exhibits illustrate the rise of small communities that were established by pioneer families and in which many of their descendants still live. Other exhibits include a medical display, an “Agriculture-to-Industry” exhibit, music heritage and Tommy Jarrell, WPAQ radio and Ralph Epperson, and Rosenwald Schools. The museum is also the official home of the Donna Fargo Collection.
The basement of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is devoted to the history of the Mount Airy Fire Department and contains many artifacts of fire fighting equipment. Exhibited on an upper floor are numerous Victorian era artifacts from the Woodroffe family, founders of the local granite quarry.
There is a dedicated space for changing exhibits and a “Hands-on History” gallery for kids.
Hours of Operation
10 am – 5 pm, Tuesday-Saturday
Seniors & Students: $3
Groups of 10 or more: $1 per person discount.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is located in a restored mercantile store in the heart of downtown Mount Airy, NC.