My first visit to the Wilkes Heritage Museum greatly exceeded my expectations. There was so much more to see than I had expected. I was fascinated by the wonderfully preserved architecture of the building and surprised at the quality of each exhibit. This may be a museum in a small town but it is not a small town museum. The Wilkes Heritage Museum serves to preserve the history and culture of an entire region.
The Wilkes Heritage Museum is home to numerous exhibits relating to industry, racing, music, folk-art, education and much more. It is also home to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame. The building in which the artifacts are displayed was once the Wilkes County Courthouse and was built in 1902. Several other buildings accompany the museum, including the Old Wilkes Jail, built in 1850, the Robert Cleveland House, built in 1779, and others. Some of the surrounding buildings are included in the museum tours and are also part of the Candlelight Ghost Tours. Among the most popular exhibits are the old schoolroom, Junior Johnson’s first racecar, and a moonshine still from the 1800s.
Events throughout the year include concerts, a Veterans Ceremony, book signings, theatrical performances, and a Christmas Open House each December. Candlelight Ghost Tours of the haunted sites in downtown Wilkesboro are given on scheduled evenings in the summer and fall. The tour includes the Old Wilkes Jail, where Tom Dooley was held, the Robert Cleveland Log Cabin and much more!
The Wilkes Heritage Museum is a great place to visit for families, school groups and any who enjoy history, racing or music![divider] [/divider]
Wilkes Heritage Museum Hours and Admission.
The museum has a minimal entry fee and a gift shop where you can find great gifts, postcards and souvenirs. The 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. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays.
Admission is as follows:
- Adults: $10
- Seniors (age 55 & older) and students: $5
- Children (age 4 & under): free
What to bring.
You will likely want to bring comfortable shoes as the museum is larger than it appears. Comfortable footwear may also come in handy if you chose to go on one of the ghost tours or want to walk the Yadkin River Greenway which has a trailhead beside the Robert Cleveland House. There are also several good restaurants and shops within easy walking distance from the museum.
How to get there.
The Wilkes Heritage Museum is located in Downtown Wilkesboro at 100 East Main Street. Parking can be found on both sides of the museum and along the street.