The History Museum

of Burke County



Established in 2003, The History Museum of Burke County began to gather and display artifacts of our heritage for future generations.  This story spans thousands of years from the time Native Americans lived and hunted in this region.  In 1567 Spanish soldiers under Captain Juan Pardo constructed Fort San Juan near present day Morganton. In the early 1700s traders, missionaries and settlers arrived. Burke County was established June 1, 1777. The 19th and 20th centuries witnessed a gold rush and the rise of timber, textile and furniture industries and an influx of state institutions.

The museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying our heritage for both current and future generations. Special exhibits and events are scheduled during the year and published in a quarterly newsletter and area media. Artifact collections change regularly – so please visit often.


The History Museum of Burke County seeks to promote the collection, preservation, educational interpretation and display of those artifacts, documents, and events most representative of Burke County – its prehistory and history, its cultural and economic development, its people and institutions.

Principle Goals

  • As a History Museum, maintain appropriate facilities and locations for instructive programs and interpretive public exhibits of local history.
  • As a Public Trust, provide cataloging and safe storage for private collections available for duplication, donation, permanent loan, or temporary loan.
  • As a Public Service, encourage safe storage for current Burke County documents, relics, and materials found in homes, businesses, public departments and agencies.
  • As a Preservation Society, prevent further destruction, removal, and loss of Burke County’s heritage through education and training.
  • As a Community Cultural Resource, provide public access to Burke County’s heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.
  • As a Learning Center, promote Burke County’s history among public and private school students and educators, researchers and authors.
  • As a Center for Research, encourage ongoing studies into events unique to Burke County and, when appropriate, related to North Carolina, the southeast United States, and the world.
  • As a Promoter of Tourism, seek innovative ways to attract visitors into our county with historically relevant occasions, publications, and media productions.
  • As a Public Agency, promote the highest ethical standards in achieving this mission and these goals within the community we serve.

— adopted by Board of Directors May 20, 2003