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7 Best Museums in Hickory, NC (+ Map!)

Outside of Maple Grove, one of the best museums in Hickory, NC
Maple Grove, one of the best museums in Hickory, NC – Nolichuckyjake /

Hickory is a great city to visit and one of the reasons for that is that there are interesting museums in Hickory, NC.

If you’re in the city, I’d definitely recommend going to one of the amazing museums you can find there. Whether you want to get to know more about science, see art, or learn about aviation, there’s a great museum for that.

To help you decide which museum to go to when you’re in the city, I made this list of the best Hickory museums. I’m sure there will be one on this list that’s great for you!

Best Museums in Hickory, NC

Catawba Science Center

Outside of the Catawba Science Center
Catawba Science Center from the outside – Nolichuckyjake /

The Catawba Science Center is a great museum to visit. This is especially a great museum to go to if you want to have a great time in Hickory with kids.

The Catawba Science Center is a science museum that is both fun and educational.

The museum has a lot of exhibits that are interactive and educational.

There are both permanent and rotating exhibits at the museum.

One of the permanent exhibits at the museum is an exhibit about nanoscience.

There is also a permanent exhibit about energy that is very interesting. Here, there are a lot of interactive elements related to TV, rockets, and much more.

The rotating exhibits are great as well and vary a lot. For example, there was a temporary exhibit about dinosaurs where children can see models of dinosaurs and learn about archaeology.

Also, what’s great is that there are often special events at the museum that relate to the exhibits.

Besides the interactive exhibits, there are other attractions at the museum.

There is both a freshwater and a saltwater aquarium with all kinds of fish and other marine animals. For example, there are eels, seahorses, and stingrays.

Furthermore, there is an interesting planetarium at the museum where children can learn about the universe through interesting films.

Address: 243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Maple Grove

Sign and building of Maple Grove
Sign in front of Maple Grove – Nolichuckyjake /

Maple Grove is also one of the best museums in Hickory. This is a historic farmhouse with an Italianate style that dates back to the year 1883. It used to be the home of the Shuford Family.

The building was restored and now it is a house museum that is open to the public.

At the museum, you can see the house as it looked like in the 1890s.

The house contains original furniture and historic items that belonged to the family.

It is possible to see the museum by doing a self-guided tour. Furthermore, it is possible to do guided tours of the house by appointment.

Walking around the house is a very impressive and interesting experience as it feels like you get transported back in time.

What’s great about this museum as well is that there is no admission fee.

Hickory Museum of Art

Those that love art will love the Hickory Museum of Art.

This museum promotes art in the Unifour Region, a region that consists of the counties of Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, and Alexander.

You can find the museum at 243 Third Avenue NE.

The museum’s permanent collection consists of American art from the 19th and 21st centuries. The collection consists of works by many famous artists, such as Asher Brown Durand and Edward Henry Potthast.

In total, the collection of the museum consists of about 1,500 objects.

What’s interesting is that the collection is very diverse in the type of art that you can find here. For example, the collection consists of glass art, photography, paintings, pottery, and many other types of objects.

Besides that, what’s great is that the museum’s collection includes Southern folk art as well. Many of the works that you find here are made by contemporary artists from the region of Western North Carolina.

Besides checking out the permanent collection, there is often more to do at the museum.

For example, there are temporary exhibitions that are very diverse and there are many different types of events that take place here. For example, there is an annual classic car show that takes place at the Hickory Art Museum and there are many other types of events.

Address: 243 3rd Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Harper House

Outside of the Harper House
Exterior of the Harper House – Nolichuckyjake /

The Harper House is a historic home that is located on N. Center Street.

The Harper House was built in the year 1887 by Daniel Webster Shuler, and the house gets its name from the last family that occupied the house: The Harper Family.

The Harper House has a beautiful architectural style that can be great to see from the outside.

But it is possible to visit the house and see it from the inside. You’ll be able to see beautiful decor, historic furniture, and other historic objects here.

What’s nice is that the Harper House can be visited for free if you do a self-guided tour.

If you want to do a guided tour of the house, there is a small fee. These tours are available a few times per day.

Address: 310 N Center St, Hickory, NC 28601

Hickory Aviation Museum

Want to learn about aviation history? Then, you can check out the Hickory Aviation Museum when you are in the city of Hickory.

You can find this museum at the Hickory Regional Airport inside a former airport terminal

At the museum, you can find a great collection of historic artifacts that relate to aviation history. For example, this collection of artifacts includes photographs, medals, equipment, and much more.

Furthermore, there is a hangar and an outdoor area where you can find a collection of aircraft.

Some aircraft that you can find here include the Grumman F-9 Cougar, the Lockheed T-33A, and the Bell AH-1W SuperCobra. The collection includes both airplanes and helicopters.

You can visit the Hickory Aviation Museum for free!

Address: 3101 9th Ave Dr NW, Hickory, NC 28601

Propst House

Propst House and a sign
Sign in front of the Propst House – Nolichuckyjake /

The Propst House is one of the best Hickory museums if you want to learn about history.

This is a Second Empire-style house that was created in the year 1882 by John Summie Propst. the owner of the home was a homebuilder and made some of the most beautiful houses in the city of Hickory.

Nowadays, the house is a historic house museum that the public can see. The house was restored and it is now possible to see the house as it looked like in the 19th century.

What’s interesting is that you can see historic furniture in the house. Furthermore, throughout the house, you can find all kinds of objects that used to belong to the Propst Family.

You can visit the house on two days of the week and there is no admission fee. Besides that, it is possible to visit the house by making an appointment.

Also, keep in mind that the house is closed during some months of the year.

Trade Alley Art

Trade Alley Art is another great place to check out if you like art.

This is a contemporary art gallery that is located in downtown Hickory.

At this art gallery, you can see works by a variety of local artists. The gallery features works by up to 25 local artists.

Also, there are many different types of art here that vary in media and styles. From paintings to wooden objects to jewelry to glass objects, you can find it at Trade Alley Art.

What’s nice is that if you like the art, you can buy it!

There are often events that take place at Trade Alley Art.

For example, the art gallery is usually open during the City Walk. During this event, you can visit the gallery for a drink while you check out art by local artists.

Address: 25 2nd St NW, Hickory, NC 28601

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Hickory Museums Tips

The Hickory museums all have something special to offer. For example, there are interesting historic house museums where you can learn about history.

Also, there are good options for when you want to visit a museum with kids. In that case, the Catawba Science Center is a great option.

Want to go on a date and visit a museum? Then, most of the museums can be great, but I recommend going to the Hickory Art Museum.

What’s great is that you can visit most of the museums on this list for free, but keep in mind that there is sometimes a fee for additional activities. For example, a guided tour could be available for an additional fee.

You should also make sure to find out what the opening hours of the museum that you want to visit are. Some of the museums are only open during specific days and hours of the week.

Harper House and nature
Harper House from the outside – Nolichuckyjake /

Museums in Hickory Map

This was my list of the best museums in Hickory, NC. I hope you found a museum you want to visit!

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