Current Exhibits

Wunderkammern, or cabinets of curiosities, arose in sixteenth-century Europe as collections of exotic and intriguing objects. This cultural phenomenon is considered a precursor to the modern day museum. We've created our own wonder room featuring curious items from the permanent collection, including a wicker casket, a 167-year-old frog, and a local photographer's original invention. As you enjoy curiosities you will also learn about how museums came to be - a story beginning nearly 2,500 years ago.

OFF THE PAGES: Bringing Literature to Life through Historic Textiles
Fashion is an ever-present aspect of our culture. It’s relatable, adaptable and constantly evolving. It often comes to mind when defining an era because clothing can tell us a lot about the lives of the people who wore it.  Observing the Summer Reading season, we’ve paired popular novels with historic clothing from the collection to bring literature to life with garments dating from the Victorian era through the 1950's.

Lexington is named the county seat in 1824 and incorporated by the General Assembly in 1828. By it's 101st birthday the city is straddling rail lines sparking local ambitions and will soon become a booming manufacturing center and hub of socioeconomic development. Learn about the county's emergence during 20th century Industrial Revolution.

One of the few remaining historical courtrooms in the southeast open to the public comes to life! Figures inhabiting our 19th century courtroom, staged to depict a case held in the 1920's,  help you learn the various roles played while court is in order.

Upcoming Exhibits JUNE 15, 2018

H. LEE WATERS PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY: Movies, The Cinema and Uptown Culture - 
The H. Lee Waters Photography Gallery: Movies, the Cinema, and Uptown Culture, features photographs of historic uptown Lexington - the city’s cultural epicenter where people worked, congregated and even saw themselves on the silver screen.
Beginning in the 1930s through the 1940s, Lexington’s studio photographer, H. Lee Waters, travelled throughout North Carolina and neighboring states making movies of “Everyday People.” Regardless of gender, age, skin color or, socioeconomic status, a few moments of fame could be yours.
Waters partnered with theaters to play his films before the featured presentation. It was this strategy that helped his business survive the Great Depression and, incidentally, documented the people that lived during an era that changed American history.    
The magic and influence of movies and the allure of the cinema have played a significant role in society since the beginnings of film history. As you visit the Waters Gallery, featured still photography and moving picture film will transport you to another place and time that feels both distant and familiar…to the theater.

Future Exhibits

This exhibit will focus on three infamous murder trials that took place in the old courthouse, each story with its own unique twist. Through original court documents and newspaper accounts, visitors will learn firsthand details of the crimes, trial, and outcomes.

Featured will be Davidson County’s very own outlaw, doctor gone insane, and a man many claim to have been wrongly convicted. In each of these cases we see how local politics, racial bias, and economic standing can impact court proceedings.

MATERIAL EVIDENCE: Sharing Historic Narratives
Just as in a Court of Law, historic narratives rely on Material Evidence to reconstruct a picture of past events. Using the Museum's collection and other primary resources, we will create a timeline of Davidson County's story that places our local experience in context with state and national events. 

In this exhibit we tell stories of communities that experienced limited or no access to resources because of the color of their skin, their gender, or their socioeconomic status. Though the fight for equality among all people continues, the legacy of exclusion lingers - impacting institutions including museums. It is our responsibility to present an inclusive history but the stories of women, children and people of color in Davidson County are largely underrepresented. We ask citizens of Davidson County to play a part in this important endeavor of sharing histories that have been separated.  

Past Exhibits


Treasures from the Collection 2015-2017

H. Lee Waters Photography Gallery 2015-2017

Serving Country and Community: VFW Post 3074

Shadows of the Past: The native American Peoples of the Yadkin Valley

Books and printed materials are still available at the Museum for these exhibits:

  • The Best We Every Saw: Early Courthouses of Davidson County
  • A Delicious Country: Settling The Backcountry of the Yadkin Valley
  • Marking our Civil War Trail in Davidson County
  • WWII Exhibits:
    Band of Family's: Davidson County's Home Front
    Our Own Band of Brothers