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.

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, traveled throughout North Carolina and neighboring states making movies of “Everyday People.”  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.    

On exhibit until mid-September
Join the Davidson County Historical Museum and our friends at Davidson Living Magazine, on our quest to find rumored tunnels under uptown Lexington. Our findings may surprise you.

BREAKING THE HINDENBURG LINE The First World War began in 1914 and lasted until 1918. The Great War had been raging in Europe for three long, bloody years before the Americans became involved on April 2, 1917. Davidson County National Guardsmen played a pivotal role breaking down the German defensive stronghold known as the Hindenburg Line, bringing an end to the war.

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 

The Story of BBQ in North Carolina
Coming September 24th - October 26th, 2019 (Limited entry on final day due to BBQ Festival)

In North Carolina, we love our tasty, regional, home-grown barbecue. From the earliest history of cooking meats over flames and coals to modern methods, North Carolina has a proud barbecue tradition, featured at family and community gatherings across the state. Whether at a backyard grill, a community event, or a traditional wood fire pit at a local restaurant, delicious barbecue can be found in every North Carolina county and in every corner of our history.

The Story of BBQ in North Carolina explores the emergence of hog cultivation and food made from them as a centerpiece of many gatherings. The exhibit also fuels the East vs West debate about sauces and condiments, even as it seeks to explain that the eastern vinegar base and the western tomato ketchup enhanced versions really aren’t that different.

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. 


Past Exhibits

Off The Pages: Bringing Literature to Life through Historic Textiles 2017-2018

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