Featured | Orange County Historical Museum

Located on the historic corner of North Churton and West Tryon Streets, adjacent to the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church and just down from the Old Town Cemetery stands the previously named Confederate Memorial Building, built in 1934. The building served as the town library since 1935 until 1983, when it became home to the Orange County Historical Museum. 

Hillsborough Historic Corner Sign - N. Churton and W. Tryon

In 1952, the residents of Orange County celebrated the 200th anniversary of the County at its seat in Hillsborough. People in Hillsborough displayed family heirlooms and sewed old-fashioned costumes for the celebration, which peaked with the production of an outdoor play, "The Road to Orange" From this event, the Hillsboro Garden Club developed the idea of having a permanent location to exhibit artifacts and educate the public on the county's history. The museum officially opened in 1957 with a collection of domestic goods, military relics, costumes, and furniture largely from the 18th and 19th centuries that were donated by local families.

Weights and Measures display at the Orange County Historical Museum

Today, the Orange County Historical Museum has over 2000 artifacts, books, photographs, and documents in its collection to tell the story of Orange County. 

The museum recently celebrated their new permanent collection gallery which explores the development and history of Hillsborough in a chronological fashion, beginning with early Native American settlements progressing through the 1950's. Special exhibits explore a variety of topics and feature Native Americans in Orange County, Occaneechi Village, Colonial Orange County, 19th Century and the Civil War, African-American Businesses in Orange County, and Orange County in the 20th Century. Prized artifacts include Colonial weights and measures, the Orange Guard Flag, the three Whitsett Murals and the 1891 Tate Map of Orange County.

Colonial period display at Orange Count Historical Museum

Two special exhibits, Women of Orange which explores a small sampling of women from various backgrounds from Orange County and Memories and War: Stereographs of WW1 in honor of the World War 1 Centennial are currently showing.

Women of Orange Exhibit at the Orange County Historical Museum


Hillsborough is an old town with many stories. Not all of these are  pleasant. Death has stalked this land for thousands of years. The tragic  endings of many throughout the town’s past paint a tragic mosaic. The  Orange County Historical Museum invites you to meet these unfortunate souls. This one-hour walking tour experience  brings to life the three centuries of tragic and true stories of  Hillsborough’s dead.  Historian Ernest Dollar is your guide. Dead of Winter: True stories from Hillsborough's Dark Past is a tour designed for ages 21 and up and includes a complimentary alcoholic beverage from Botanist & Barrel with the purchase of a ticket. Two tours available- February 22 & 23rd, 6 pm - 8 pm


If you go:

Location: 201 N. Churton Street, Hillsborough, NC  27278
Museum Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday 11 am - 4 pm & Sunday 1 pm - 4 pm
Contact Info: info@orangecountyhistory.org | (919) 732-2201