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Tourism Authority supports county history museum

ASHEBORO — The proposed Randolph County History Museum is receiving support from the Randolph County Tourism Development Authority (TDA).


Amber Scarlett, TDA's executive director, presented a letter of support to the agency’s board of directors at their March 15 meeting. 


Calling the county’s history “vital to our tourism message for today’s residents and visitors,” the letter said, in part, “By adding this museum to our tourism inventory, we will have another asset that provides immense value to the quality of life in our community, its residents and visitors. The Randolph County History Museum will serve as another key piece of our tourism story. …”


The letter will be presented to the Randolph County Board of Commissioners at their April 3 meeting.


The museum is to be located in the Historic 1909 Courthouse on Worth Street, Asheboro.


Ross Holt, director of the Randolph County Public Library System and a member of the TDA board, has been heavily involved in the museum project since 2020. He said the project has become larger since renovations to the building will also require a new elevator tower, heating and air-conditioning system, and repairs to the water-damaged basement.


A firm that designs such exhibits, including the historic Chatham County Courthouse, is being considered for the museum layout. The commissioners will be asked to award a bid for design as well as approve a manager position during the April meeting so that the project can move forward. 


“We want to tell Randolph County’s story,” Holt said. 


He said a likely display to highlight mill communities that grew along Deep River will provide information about the Deep River State Trail. Collaboratively, signs along the trail would direct hikers to learn more about the history of Deep River at the museum.


Holt said a number of items have already been donated to the museum, including a book signed by Randolph County’s first sheriff, William Bell, husband of Martha McGee Bell, a Revolutionary War heroine.


In other business, the board approved a budget amendment to assist the Petty Tribute Park. According to Will Massie, county finance officer, “Budgeting an additional $6,536 in donations would increase the project budget enough” to complete the endeavor.


The Petty Tribute Park will honor Richard and the late Lynda Petty for their contributions to Randleman and Randolph County. Carolina Bronze is creating a statue of the two that will be displayed on city property at the intersection of Academy and Naomi streets.


The park is scheduled to be dedicated at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 15.