Looking Toward the Future While Preserving Our Past

By Kelly Hargett

What does the future hold? For most non-profits, this question can be intimidating. How exactly do you make a plan when you rely on donations and grants to fund your operation and fill in your exhibits with donated or loaned artifacts? However, each year we sit down and sketch out our goals and plans for the year to come. These goals usually involve what exhibits we will focus on, what events and programming will take place and what objects we may be able to restore and/or display. What we have found however, is that working in the Kernersville community is often filled with surprises, and 2019 did not disappoint.

As the Kernersville Museum continues to grow rapidly, our goals and plans sometimes change quickly. When we began 2019, we had no idea that the Town of Kernersville would have a Weaning Cabin, a stable and a smokehouse from the late 1800’s donated to it. We also did not know that those items would be relocated to our campus. Nevertheless, by October of 2019, we found ourselves with a completely new focus here at the Museum, and we could not be more excited. The restoration of these buildings, as well as the creation of new exhibits and programming that will complement them, is now one of our main concerns.

Along with the Weaning Cabin, stable and smokehouse, Piney Grove School, which is under the stewardship of the Kernersville Historic Preservation Society (KHPS) and currently sits at Fourth of July Park, will also move onto our campus in the near future. Once it was decided that the other buildings would be relocated, the KHPS decided that the relocation of the schoolhouse would be a good move. Moving the schoolhouse to the Kernersville Museum means that property will be opened on a regular basis for tours and incorporated into the historical village.

The creation of a historical village that will give visitors a glimpse into late nineteenth century life here in Kernersville is a joint project. Together with the Town of Kernersville, Kernersville Parks and Recreation and the Kernersville Historic Preservation Society, we hope to offer visitors a unique experience that will explore what life looked like in our town more than 100 years ago. We believe hands-on educational experiences and local stories will create greater community engagement in our local history and bring more visitors to our campus. It is our hope the creation of this village becomes a draw for out of town visitors to our Downtown area.

As 2019 came to a close, the Kernersville Museum was gifted with one more surprise. The Lawrence E. Pope Foundation awarded the Kernersville Museum a $25,000 grant to begin work on the renovation of the house located at 109 South Cherry Street. The home is a bungalow style home that was popular in the early 1900’s and was originally built by Dr. O. L. Joyner in 1915. The Joyner family lived in the home until Conrad & Margaret Crutchfield bought the property in 1940. Many folks remember Conrad Crutchfield operating the filling station that sat on the corner of West Mountain and Cherry Street. The Crutchfield family owned the property until 1977, when it changed hands a few times before Paul and Jane Morris purchased the property.

Renovations at 109 South Cherry Street will allow the Kernersville Museum to utilize this property for more exhibit space, artifact storage, meeting space, the creation of a rare documents room and so much more. The Pope Foundation’s generous $25,000 grant will allow us to begin work on this project immediately and kick off the fundraising we will need to complete the project.

What does the future hold at the Kernersville Museum? Expansion and growth are at the top of our list. We are fortunate to be located in a town where everyone, from the Aldermen and Town Manager, to our local citizens see the value in preserving our local history. Many towns have watched their history disappear to growth and development. Kernersville continues to balance our growth with our desire to preserve the history that has made us who we are. If you would like to donate to the Kernersville Museum, please see our website at www.KernersvilleMuseum.org/donations. To keep up with our ever-growing campus, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram @KernersvilleMuseum. We hope you will visit soon.

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