By Kashif Stone, Staff Writer
Published in print Feb. 25, 2015
Many wonderful pieces can be found at the High Point Museum in High Point, N.C. The museum features historical artifacts such as wagons that date back to the earliest findings of the city and briefings on “The Plank Road”, which was a major transportation route for High Point at the time connecting Fayetteville, N.C. with the western region of the state. The museum is located at 1859 East Lexington Avenue in High Point will enhance your knowledge of a Triad city with a long-dated enriched history.
The High Point Museum gives history on High Point from its beginnings to the present day. Before cars were invented, the railroad system was a major transportation source for America. “The New South: Opportunity for the Taking” exhibit displays railroad artifacts that give credit to the name of High Point which was derived from the North Carolina railroad system. The city was given its name in 1859, when at that time High Point was located at the highest point of the railroad system. This exhibit also gives history on Henry Davis, a well-known stagecoach driver of High Point during the Plank Road operation.
One of the museum most valued artifacts is furniture due to the well-acknowledged furniture industry of High Point. The “Progressive Era” exhibit displays pieces from historical furniture and textile industries of High Point. Furniture was one of High Point’s biggest manufactures at the time, some even considering the city as the “furniture capital of the world, however it wasn’t until the textile industries came to the area that the city began to blossom into what it is today.
During the 1920s, High Point’s population was much larger than the surrounding cities. Crime was a major issue during that time and the city was even coined the name “Little Chicago” for the lifestyle similarities the two cities share. The “Roaring Twenties” exhibit features black-and-white photographs of the 1920s nightlife and lifestyle of High Point.
The museum acknowledges notable people who have lived in the High Point area; for instance, world renowned jazz musician John Coltrane is featured in an exhibit which Community Relations Director Teresa Loflin says the staff is very excited to be hosting. Coltrane grew up in High Point to later become one of the best known saxophone jazz musicians in the country. The display shows Coltrane’s childhood piano which he wrote many songs on before transforming them into pieces for the saxophone.
Other exhibits reflect upon the sit-ins and desegregation era of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in High Point. The displays gives history on the February 11, 1960 sit-in incident, 10 days after the Greensboro Four, conducted by 26 high school students at High Point’s local Woolworth’s store. A more modern history of High Point can be found at the “High Point Today” exhibit. Displaying photos of the city’s first female and African-American mayor and a racing suit to define its impact on the racing industry, this exhibits summarizes how far High Point has come since its beginnings. Just recently, the museum featured exhibits that were curated by UNCG students. The “Pieces of the Past: The Art of Gwendolyn Magee” exhibit was created by students of the Museum Studies program and has been display for several months.
The High Point Museum has a lot to offer for all different age groups. Aside from the artifacts displayed throughout the museum, the site also features a historical park that presents demonstrations that range from cooking to bullet making. These demonstrations, which are held two to three times a month on Saturdays, were created for visitors to experience how life in High Point was during that time period.
In short, the High Point Museum will take you on a journey to the past about a Piedmont Triad city that has transformed from a major transportation hub into the ninth-largest municipality in North Carolina.
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.