The Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum was voted the “Best Little Known Attraction” in Fayetteville by Up & Coming Weekly readers last year. Right in our back yard we have one of the 40 designated National Landmarks in North Carolina. The museum is located in the fully restored Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Depot and offers a retrospective view of transportation and so much more.
According to Bruce Daws, museum director, the vision is to bring all manner of local history to the public. There is an annex located next door to the museum that extends the story of Fayetteville’s afﬁ nity for trains, planes and automobiles. Occupying the annex are vintage cars and a recreated gas station circa 1920. The annex also houses exhibits dedicated to law enforcement and ﬁre department history, farm life and the early years of Fort Bragg and Pope Airﬁeld.
“We have an excellent speaker’s group capable of bringing history to life. They have addressed civic groups, schools, churches and military functions. We can design speciﬁc programs on request. We will open early for groups. Just let us know what your needs are,” Daws said.
The museum also hosts the Fayetteville Farmers Market and the City Market. Local arts, crafts and produce grown locally are available for purchase. Imagine sitting in a rocking chair on the museum grounds in the late spring, a gentle breeze and scents of soaps and candles circulate. Picture biting into a home-grown apple while viewing the treasures purchased from the artisans. The markets are where downtown becomes a haven for families.
The museum and the school system have an excellent relationship. Fourth and eighth graders can take a four-hour walking tour and see Southern architecture at its best. Pre-schooler’s experience a sing-along story and home schoolers are frequent visitors as well. Seniors have been benefactors of the museums traveling presentations.
“We have something for all ages. It’s special to listen to a child’s amazement validated by an elder. Learning takes place on so many levels,” explained Daws. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts engage with museum activities in pursuit of merit badges. Students can also take in a quick civics lesson with a visit to the city council chambers as well as a tour of the Emergency 911 Center.
There are two major exhibits offered at present. This year is the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 as well as the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The relics and artifacts displayed are numerous and awe-inspiring. Agricultural and Native American exhibits are also displayed on a rotation basis. This spring will debut the role of the Jewish people in Fayetteville and the rich heritage they brought to the local area.
The Market House is one of the jewels in the museum’s crown. It was completed in 1832 and designated as a national landmark in 1973. It served as Fayetteville’s Town Hall until 1907. Tours are offered on the fourth Friday of the month.
For the history buff or those seeking to learn of life in a different time, the museum complex has much to offer. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information about the museum and the multitude of programs, please call 910-433-1458.
Photo: The Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum brings local history to the public.