Take a virtual tour of the History Museum


By Chris Woodson - Contributing columnist



Courtesy photos A panoramic view shows several museums that are part of the Sampson County History Museum.


The Law Enforcement Museum features a real jail cell and a horse-drawn convict transport.


The Wooten Store represents a country store that was the gathering place many years ago.


The main building houses exhibits and administrative offices.


By Chris Woodson

Contributing columnist

One of the comments we hear most often at the Sampson County History Museum is, “I didn’t realize there was so much to see!” This is understandable, given the unique nature of this facility, and the reality is, the Sampson County History Museum is actually not just one museum, but a multi-museum complex!

The main building is a house built in 1903 that contains exhibits and administrative offices. It currently houses a wide variety of exhibits, including African-American history, medicine and doctors, and the Coharie Navtive American Tribe. One of the most popular exhibits in this building is the “retro” kitchen, which takes the visitor back to the 1950s and 1960s. Another room serves as a temporary home for our military collection, including weapons, uniforms, and flags from various conflicts.

Once the visitor steps out the back door, this visitor is in for a real surprise! The first stop is the Law Enforcement Museum, which houses an incredible array of artifacts from the NC Highway Patrol, the Sampson County Sheriff’s office, and Clinton Police Department. The second room in the law enforcement building is home to an actual jail cell, and a horse-drawn convict transport!

Just a few feet away, another is our blacksmith shop, and firehouse. The blacksmith shop features equipment from a local shop, and is still utilized for craft demonstrations. Adjacent to the blacksmith shop is one our newest buildings, housing a fire truck and other fire-fighting equipment. The truck, which is a 1941 Ford, was donated by the town of Roseboro. It recently been restored by local firefighters, and has quickly become a big hit with visitors!

As the name implies, the Henry L. Turlington Sports Hall of Fame is home to memorabilia relating to Sampson County athletics. The walls are lined with photos, trophies, and uniforms donated by many of the area’s notable athletes. The Hall of Fame is overseen by the Sampson County Sports Club, which nominates inductees periodically.

The Exhibit Hall was constructed in 2005, and contains a wide range of artifacts relating to daily life in Sampson County’s past. Items from local businesses, schools, movie theaters, performing arts, and photography are on display, as well as toys, telephones and other household items. This building is also home to the Sampson County Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and an exhibit on naval stores (tar, pitch, and turpentine), which was once a booming industry in Sampson County. There is a little bit of something for everybody on display in the Exhibit Hall!

The Agriculture Museum was built in 2007, with funds from the N.C. Grange Foundation. Agriculture is still huge way of life in Sampson County, and this building is a favorite of local visitors. It’s been said that the history of farming is all about finding a way to do it faster, cheaper, and more efficiently, and this exhibit helps tell that story through an amazing collection of photographs, artifacts, and antique farming equipment.

In addition to the modern buildings, there are historic structures relocated from elsewhere in the county for preservation purposes. A cabin dating to around 1750 was located on a tract of land once known as the David Bunting Plantation, and houses a variety of antiques. The Cabin Museum, believed to have been built in the late 1700s, was donated to the museum by renowned Sampson County historian Claude Moore, and contains many Civil War-related artifacts.

The Holmes House, which was built around the time of the Civil War, was also donated by Claude Moore. It is believed to have originally been a kitchen and slave quarters for a larger house, but little else is known about its early history. The Wooten Store was originally located in Timothy (near Spivey’s Corner), and was donated to the museum in 2010. This is another visitor favorite, and instantly transports one back to the days when country stores were the anchors of many small communities!

This concludes the virtual tour of the Sampson County History Museum. As you can imagine, the only way to truly experience this hidden gem of Sampson County, is to experience it yourself. We are open Thursday through Saturday, from 10:00 am until 4 p.m., at 313 Lisbon St. in downtown Clinton. Come by and check out “The Key to the Past”!

Chris Woodson is director of the Sampson County History Museum.

Courtesy photos A panoramic view shows several museums that are part of the Sampson County History Museum.
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_panorama.jpgCourtesy photos A panoramic view shows several museums that are part of the Sampson County History Museum.

The Law Enforcement Museum features a real jail cell and a horse-drawn convict transport.
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_law-museum.jpgThe Law Enforcement Museum features a real jail cell and a horse-drawn convict transport.

The Wooten Store represents a country store that was the gathering place many years ago.
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_Wooten-store.jpgThe Wooten Store represents a country store that was the gathering place many years ago.

The main building houses exhibits and administrative offices.
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_main-building.jpgThe main building houses exhibits and administrative offices.

By Chris Woodson

Contributing columnist

Chris Woodson is director of the Sampson County History Museum.

Chris Woodson is director of the Sampson County History Museum.

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