The collections of the Lincoln County Museum of History are a vital part of the history and heritage of Lincolnton and Lincoln County, North Carolina. The Lincoln County Historical Association collects, preserves, and manages the museum’s various collections, as detailed in the collections policy, and makes these collections available to researchers and the general public for study, publication, and exhibition.
Members of the Lincoln County Historical Association have been collecting artifacts, documents, and photos since very shortly after the Association became a member group of the Lincoln Cultural Center, and they opened the museum in conjunction with the opening of the Lincoln Cultural Center in 1991. During the first six years, staff and volunteers passively collected objects, artifacts, and manuscripts covering a number of time periods and subject matters.
Since 1996, the museum has actively sought and acquired comparatively larger objects and manuscript collections, expanding the museum’s collections exponentially. A few of these objects include a large textile loom, cotton gins, a printing press, furniture collections, Catawba Valley Pottery, and clothing. The museum’s large manuscript collections include the Harlan E. Boyles Collection, Judge Sheldon Roper Papers, Nixon Family Collection, High Shoals Iron Works Papers, Sumner Family Collection, and James “Buddy” Funderburk Papers. Other paper-based collections include the Lincoln County School Registers, Lincoln County Poll and Registration Books, Clarence Leatherman Law Library, Gaither Shrum Collection, Clarence C. and Ida Reep Papers, Lula Seagle Rhyne Papers, and Lincolnton Little Theatre Collection. In addition to the museum’s general photograph collection, the museum maintains historic photograph collections from Clyde “Baby Ray” Cornwell, Duke Peeler, Don Frazier, and William James. For the past eight years, museum staff and volunteers have researched and collected documentation relating to various aspects of the city and county’s history, and have created a large Reference Collection of books and files, a poster collection, and ephemera collection.