#30 of 31 Boone Things To Do

Blowing Rock Art & History Museum

Learn, Rest and Reflect at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum
Staff Score:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum invites you into a world of wonder, filled with beautiful art, interesting exhibits, and educational offerings. Visit the museum for free to enjoy all that is housed within this spectacular space dedicated to historic and cultural education. 

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Nestled in the North Carolina mountains, in Blowing Rock, Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, known as simply BRAHM, offers cultural enrichment by highlighting Southern Appalachian Heritage and History and the arts via permanent collections, activities, exhibitions, and educational programs.

The BRAHM is committed to building relationships between the museum visitors and the artists, the voices of the region, which are a rich heritage to the community overall. Their mission is to connect people to the history and heritage they might not know about. The museum itself is designed for intimate exploration and offers a place of respite from the clamor of the world at large.

The quiet reflective environment of the BRAHM presents an ideal opportunity for museum guests to learn, rest, reflect, and gather. It is a place of beauty, yet, but it invites guests to look even deeper and challenge themselves. There is a great deal of care spent on each and every program and exhibit to ensure that it encourages thought, conversation, and engagement.

Admission to this beautiful facility is free to all. There are certain tips that guests are given to get the most out of their trip and to prolong the art for others coming after. Standing 12 inches away from all artwork and avoiding touching cases and artwork is an example of this. All guests are also encouraged to place their phones on silent as well to further enhance the peaceful environment.

At BRAHM, you can take non-flash personal photography of the exhibitions and galleries unless it has been noted otherwise. There will be signs that state when photography isn’t permitted. Food and drinks are never allowed in the museum’s galleries, and service animals are the only four-legged guests that are permitted.

The museum features 21,000 square feet on three levels. This includes 10 galleries, five of which are rotated on a seasonal schedule. The lower level of the BRAHM features the Wilson Education Center, which is a 1,500-square-foot space that features hands-on programs for adult and youth learners.

You can even rent space at the museum to host your next special event. The BRAHM most certainly provides an elegant backdrop for a special event, celebration, wedding, or business meeting. The museum makes a wonderful location for a wedding, allowing you to take your vows on the elegant dark wood staircase located in the museum atrium, complete with sky-high ceilings. The Schaefer Gallery, which can set up to 20 in a warm atmosphere is great for smaller gatherings, while the larger Alexander Community Gallery with expansive windows, contemporary decor, and timelessly elegant wood columns and beams provide a larger reception option.

Now, getting back to the galleries you can enjoy when visiting the museum as a guest, the rotating galleries change three times yearly, offering you something new to discover at every visit. There are several permanent guest-favorite exhibitions however that stay put year-round. One rotating gallery is found in the Alexander Community Gallery and is an exhibit entitled When All God’s Children Get Together. This is a celebration of the lives and music of African-American people in far western North Carolina.

Another interesting exhibition to visit is found in Rankin West and is the Coast to Coast gallery, showing contrasts and shared values across American impressionism. Rankin East also currently features Uncommon Volumes, which is a collection of sculptural selections from studio glass in the region.  In addition to the galleries and exhibits, there are also hands-on workshops available at the museum that are relevant to the history and culture of the region. Programs range from film screenings and lectures to dance demonstrations and more, all featuring local experts.

Insider Tips:
-Free parking is available for museum guests on the deck adjacent to the museum.
-If you bring along a large purse, backpack, or shopping bag, it will need to be stored in the complimentary locker area as you will not be allowed to bring it into the galleries.
-There are guided tours offered at BRAHM at various times throughout the year. Tours are led by skilled team members who are knowledgeable docents.