Art bursts around every corner of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Swiss architect Mario Botta designed the intimate museum to showcase art in every arresting space and vista, including works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Max Ernst. The spiraling colors of the European perspective highlight the best of mid 20th-century modern art. The collection showcases the relationships the Bechtler family formed with the art community and the art that followed.
The world's very first working airplane took flight at Kitty Hawk, making North Carolina a natural place to explore the world of aviation. Almost the entire story of flight unfolds here at Carolinas Aviation Museum, from the development of commercial and military planes to privately owned wax-and-feather wings. It's not all about the technology, either?the museum places heavy emphasis on the human stories behind these marvels of engineering, including heroic Vietnam War veterans.
Culture & Heritage Museums safeguard the Carolina Piedmont's historical treasures and educate residents and visitors about the region's unique past. Instituted in the 1950's, York County's group of affiliated museums and attractions forms a multi-campus network encompassing a wealth of educational opportunities across various disciplines.
Each year, museumgoers view antique documents and photographs at the Historical Center located inside the McCelvey Center. They can get to know more than 1,500 natural specimens at the hands-on Naturalist Center inside the Museum of York County, and march through Historic Brattonsville's 775-acre Revolutionary War site. Locals can volunteer at the museums in fascinating roles, such as specimen preparers, who beautify avian exhibits by helping with taxidermy and surgical beak-lifts.
The Bunker Hill Covered Bridge, which was improved by Civil War general Herman Haupt, the late 19th-century Historic Murray's Mill, which boasts a 28-foot high waterwheel, and the Harper House, which showcases its intricate Queen Anne stylings, all have something in common: They're maintained and shown by the Catawba County Historical Association, an organization dedicated to preserving and exhibiting historical sites throughout North Carolina.
The Catawba County Museum of History, situated in the former Catawba County Courthouse, depicts the lives of the Catawba River Valley's original settlers and their decedents through artifacts such tools made from hand-dug iron ore, military uniforms, and hand-stitched quilts. Visitors can step back in time into the ornately decorated, Queen Anne–style Harper House, whose period-accurate color schemes, wallpaper, and architectural details paint a picture of southern life in the Victorian era. The Murray & Minges General Store's shelves are still stocked with old-fashioned toys and treats, which at one time must have kept the Murray family children occupied as their parents helmed the Murray Mill. Guests can tour the mill and imagine workers grinding corn and wheat with the tools on display, toiling away to make their sacrifices to the Corn Gods in hopes of one day receiving Fritos.
Richard Petty was a race car driver for more than 30 years, an epic career that earned him the nickname "The King" and a slot in NASCAR's Hall of Fame. His last race was in 1991, and he's now happily retired. But at Richard Petty Driving Experience, civilians can re-create his glory during race car rides of their own.
At NASCAR tracks around the country, Petty's eponymous company provides a broad spectrum of high-speed experiences. Amateurs can hop into the driver's seat of a streamlined, 600-horsepower race car and hit the track for as many as 50 laps. However, they can also opt for a ride-along, and enjoy speeds of up to 145 mph without the hassle of steering or hand-cranking the engine.
Old Salem Museums & Gardens whisks visitors to the cozy streets of a reconstructed 18th-century Moravian town that encompasses 100 restored and reclaimed buildings and expansive, pristine gardens. As they stroll through the 90-acre homage to early Americana, visitors can interact with hands-on activities, such as the German paper-cutting art of Scherenschnitte or the colonial tradition of libeling a governor with accusations of actually governing. Old Salem's horticultural marvels include the Miksch Garden—a living illustration of Moravian subsistence farming—and the Family Gardens of Salt Street, which demonstrate the innovative practice of seed saving. In addition to year-round attractions, special exhibits rotate through town, celebrating momentous occasions, notable people, and game-changing presidential pets. After traversing the grounds, visitors can peruse souvenirs at a number of gift shops or sidle into Winkler’s Bakery for a piece of renowned Moravian sugar cake.