The 9 Best Museums in North Carolina!

Museums serve as outlets to travel to the past, capture the present, and invent the future. Interactive experiences spanning interests in science, history, art, and beyond connect visitors through shared education and entertainment. Here are 9 destinations for timeless exploration at North Carolina's museums.

North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, NC

Its mission to preserve and present the state's past has led the North Carolina Museum of History to regularly house more than 150,000 artifacts in collections from six centuries. Rotating exhibits showcasing the works of local and national artists encapsulate the landscape of the state as well as its arduous social development. And the stories they tell extend into the Raleigh area. Statues of early North Carolina individuals modeled after forensically reconstructed archaeological remains stand outdoors to greet visitors as the individuals once did.

Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC

Downtown Chapel Hill is home to the Ackland Art Museum and its permanent collection of thousands of works. The museum hosts a wide variety of drawings, photographs, and prints along with European masterworks, 20th century and contemporary art, local pottery, and North Carolina's collections of Asian art. To bring even more support to the area, the museum organizes several special exhibitions every year.

Museum of Life and Science, Durham, NC

The interactive science park and two-story science center at the Museum of Life and Science will excite scientists old and new. Over 84 acres of outdoor exhibits and 60 species of live animals provide safe havens for black bears, red wolves, lemurs, and those curious to see them. The museum also maintains one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast and invites visitors to observe the creatures during butterfly releases.

Asheville Pinball Museum, Asheville, NC

Asheville may be known for its Great Smoky Mountains and vibrant art scene, but the city is also home to one of the world's few pinball museums. Visitors at the Asheville Pinball Museum can play dozens of vintage machines and purchase their own to play pinball at home. The space can be reserved past regular visiting hours for private parties so the game doesn't have to end.

Airborne & Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville, NC

Fayetteville's Airborne & Special Operations Museum is a place to honor the heroic feats of the airborne and special operations troops who have contributed to protecting the nation. Owned by the U.S. Army, the museum contains hundreds of wartime artifacts and permanent exhibits with topics including World War II, Korea and the Cold War, and Vietnam. In the Reflection Garden, visitors can contemplate the past and reflect on the efforts of others.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC

The most-visited museum in the state, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences focuses on research, life-long education, and community engagement. Permanent exhibits located next to professional research facilities allow for visitors to touch the bones of a Right Whale and come face-to-face with extinct creatures. Surrounded by interactive models, dioramas, and theaters, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a place of discovery for people of all ages.

Imagination Station Science & History Museum, Wilson, NC

To draw interest in science, technology, and history from hands-on learning is the goal of Wilson's Imagination Station Science & History Museum. An illuminated six-foot sphere illustrates properties of earth science and allows visitors to hold the world in their hands on the first floor. The museum also has a live animal collection located on the second floor of the building. A museum dedicated to the Coastal Plain can be found on the third floor.

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

The largest museum art park in the country belongs to the North Carolina Museum of Art. One hundred and sixty-four acres of outdoor area surrounded the museum's interior of work from the Italian Renaissance to the 19th century. Permanent collections include Egyptian funerary art, sculptures and painted vases from ancient Greece and Rome, and Jewish ceremonial objects.

Mountain Gateway Museum, Old Fort, NC

As part of the Division of State History Museums in the Office of Archives of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Mountain Gateway Museum provides public access to artifacts with local, regional, national, and international contexts. By teaching how North Carolina's past continues to affect the present, Mountain Gateway Museum explores how one state is part of global history.

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1170 US Highway 64 West, Asheboro, NC
About See one of the largest private collections of antique Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the country, includes 45 bikes ranging from 1936 to 197... Read More
2222-G Pilots View Road, Asheboro, NC
The North Carolina Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame is well into its second decade as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving t... Read More
309 Branson Mill Road, Randleman, NC
The Petty Museum was established in 1988. The Petty Museum presents the unparalleled success story of one of the founding families of stock car rac... Read More
6136 Burlington Road, Sedalia, NC
The Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum is located on the former campus of the nationally-renowned Palmer Memorial Institute. In the fall of 1902 at age... Read More
6136 Burlington Road,, Gibsonville, NC
About Founded in 1902 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Palmer Memorial Institute transformed the lives of more than 2,000 African American students... Read More
135 West Elm Street, Graham, NC
The Graham Museum also houses other exciting displays from small town America including: 1930 Seagraves fire truck and fire fighting equipment Gr... Read More
201 East Main Street, Haw River, NC
Museum Hours: Saturday & Sunday 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM and at other times by special arrangement. About The Haw River Museum, established in 1997,... Read More
201 Main St., Haw River, NC
Operated by the Haw River Historical Association, The Haw River Museum is a non-profit, educational and historical attraction with something for al... Read More
131 West Church Street, Ellerbe, NC
The Rankin Museum is fun for all ages. Take yourself away from your everyday world and explore faraway places and times past in our exhibits. Imagi... Read More
134 South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC
Vision:We seek to memorialize the courageous stand of the Greensboro Four as they launched, for posterity, the sit-in movement on February 1, 1960.... Read More
200 North Davie Street, Greensboro, NC
Mission Statement: Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art is a non-profit organization devoted to the stateÔ³ visual arts, artists, and cultura... Read More
220 North Church Street, Greensboro, NC
Mission StatementThe Greensboro Children’s Museum’s Mission is to provide children and families with fun, interactive, educational expe... Read More
130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC
Discover & LearnThe Greensboro Historical Museum strives to open Greensboro’s history in ways that will inspire, challenge and even trans... Read More
500 Tate Street, Greensboro, NC
Hours Tue, Wed & Fri 10am-5pm Thu 10am-9pm Sat & Sun 1pm-5pm  Closed Mondays Mission Statement: The Weatherspoon Art Museum ... Read More
3900 Bonsal Road, New Hill, NC
History The original New Hope Valley Railway was built in 1904 to carry timber and other agricultural commodities such as cotton, corn and tobacco... Read More
2406 Glencoe Street, Burlington, NC
About US: The Textile Heritage Museum is located in the Company Store and Office Building in the Glencoe Mill Village. The building was purchased ... Read More
555 East Springfield Road, High Point, NC
Learn what it was like to live in the 19th century. An historic Quaker meeting house built in 1858, the Museum of Old Domestic Life is filled with ... Read More
101 South Columbia Street, Chapel Hill, NC
Mission: The Ackland Art Museum collects, preserves, and presents great art to educate, inspire, and engage the University and its regional, nation... Read More
Skipper Bowles Drive, Chapel Hill, NC
The state-of-the-art Carolina Basketball Museum features artifacts, videos, photos, and statistical and historical panels that highlight the histor... Read More
60 Falls Road, Badin, NC
History: Alcoa's rental office, town kindergarten and community building at it original location on the corner of Maple and Spruce Streets. In 199... Read More
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