ARTS, CULTURE & HERITAGE

Gaze at stars in the second-largest planetarium in North Carolina. Marvel at the beauty in the only five-story glass-walled orchid conservatory in the Carolinas. Rejoice in freedom at Belmont’s Juneteenth Celebration. Check out Gastonia’s Downtown Arts & Antiques District. 

 

Arts, culture and heritage take center stage in various ways throughout the year. In late winter, the Abbey Players open a theater season at Belmont Abbey College like they have done every year since 1883. In spring, Art & Orchids draws thousands to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Summer and fall are great times to learn the history of textiles, trucking and Gaston County itself at one of several well-maintained history museums. Finally, in December, McAdenville transforms into Christmas Town U.S.A.® with hundreds of thousands of lights drawing visitors to this quaint, little village.

VISIT, DISCOVER & LEARN

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

This nationally renowned garden was started by local textile baron Daniel Stowe in the 1990s. Spectacular gardens cover 110 acres and draw visitors year-round. The centerpiece is a large, atrium-like visitor pavilion with a century-old stained-glass dome. The five-story glass Orchid Conservatory is the only one of its kind in the Carolinas, showcasing orchids and tropical plants.

Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium

What began as a place to house the nature collection of a longtime scoutmaster has grown into one of the nation’s most significant nature museums with the largest collection of land mammal specimens in the Southeast. The museum has five permanent exhibit halls, areas for rotating exhibits, a spectacular planetarium, a Stone Age heritage site and a re-created Catawba Indian Village.

Gaston County Museum

The museum is housed in the 1852 Hoffman Hotel and is a great place to learn about the art and history of Gaston County (and the region). It presents thought-provoking-challenging exhibits and engaging programs for diverse audiences. The museum also contains NC’s largest public collection of horse-drawn vehicles.

Joy Performance Center

This renovated 1950s theater is home to quality performances and concerts. The Kings Mountain Little Theatre troop hosts comedies, musicals and children’s plays. The Revolutionary drama “Liberty Mountain,” written by a local playwright, tells the story of the Overmountain Men defeating the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain and turning the tide of the Revolutionary War.

Belmont Historical Society

Belmont’s history is on display at this heritage center in the heart of town. Trace the town’s progression from early days to the era of textile manufacturing giants to current times as a growing community of diverse people and places. It’s also home to the Belmont Sports Hall of Fame.

American Military Museum

Founded by American Legion Post 23, this hidden gem of a museum has an extensive collection of authentic U.S. military and related memorabilia from past wars and time periods. The weapons collection also includes pieces from Germany, Japan and Russia. The museum is housed in the American Legion Memorial Hall in downtown Gastonia.

Mount Holly Historical Society

This museum is the official home of the City of Mount Holly archives. It features rotating exhibits as well as a research library with online access to genealogical websites and back issues of the Mount Holly News from 1945-2005.

Alfred C. Kessell History Center

This center in renovated Loray Mill features touch-screen monitors displaying “Digital Loray,” an interactive online exhibit chronicling one of the most famous mills in history. Built in 1902 as the largest single-roof textile mill in the South, Loray was the site of a deadly workers strike in 1929. Also exhibited are artifacts of daily mill life.

African American Museum of History & Culture

The African American Museum of History & Culture at Loray Mill celebrates African American history and culture by providing visitors an opportunity to explore, examine and engage a better understanding and deeper appreciation for the contributions made and achievements attained at the local, regional and national levels.

C. Grier Truck Museum

Learn how C. Grier Beam began with one truck in 1932 and built what would becomeCarolina Freight, one of the nation’s top carriers until its sale in 1995. Explore the history of Carolina Freight, as well as the trucking industry in general. Located in the gas station where Beam began his company.

Cherryville Historical Museum

This museum is housed in a 1911 building, formerly city hall, with three floors of artifacts and exhibits focused on Cherryville history. Learn the story of the town’s New Years Shooters, who fire muskets to ring in the new year. The museum is also home to the Cherryville Sports Hall of Fame.

J. Ralph Beam Jr. Heritage Park

Tour 19th- and 20th-century buildings indicative of Cherryville’s development. This town park contains five original buildings: the first city hall, an old jailhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, a smoke house and an early warehouse for federally licensed bonded liquor.

Brevard Station

Brevard Station Museum (named for Stanley’s original train depot) has exhibits ranging from the area’s gold mining history to the discovery of a rare magnolia by French botanist Andre Michaux. Other exhibits cover the railroad’s advent, information and artifacts regarding the textile industry, artifacts depicting early domestic life, and a collection of military artifacts.

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620 N. Main St.

Belmont, NC 28012

Phone: 704-825-4044

Toll Free: 1-800-849-9994

Visitors Center is closed until further notice.

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