TDDA votes Tryon Historical Museum proceed with own 501(c) 3

Published 5:07 pm Sunday, August 10, 2014

The dream of historical museum in downtown Tryon began in October of 2012 at a statewide Small Town Main Street Training in Clayton, N.C. At the conference, Tryon was held up as an example to North Carolinians on how to brand your town with MORRIS. Likewise, Tryon was recognized for unique promotion with the April Fools Festival Outhouse Races. When it came to telling your town’s story, however, Tryon was not even on the scoreboard. Thus, one of the major elements of promotion to attract visitors, new businesses and residents for economic restructuring was missing; and so began the mission of telling Tryon’s story.
The museum concept was brought back from the training and presented to the Board of TDDA where it was received as a project to promote. Over the next 16 plus months, starting up a museum was researched: STMS staff brought professionals in to guide us; other museums were visited; a long list of resources for technical assistance was compiled; and, a valuable network to start up a museum was established.
Originally it was thought the museum would go into space graciously donated by the Town in Town Hall. However, Town Council did not wish to enter into a long-term lease, so other locations for the museum began to be explored. Donors and foundations wanted assurance that contributions would stay with the museum, not the building, if the museum had to leave.
The time has now come for the museum to go out on its own and be “birthed” by TDDA. On August 4, 2014 TDDA voted for the museum to form its own 501 (c) 3 and proceed independently of TDDA but with TDDAs support. And so with its own Committee and Mission Statement, by which the museum will Tell Tryon’s Story, Tryon will preserve the history of her people, Carter Brown and others arriving on the train, equestrians, the arts, and toy makers for generations to come.
What will the museum “look like?” In addition to well-displayed artifacts, visions of a coffee and tea bar exist along with Tryon-made gifts for sale. The museum will be alive with lectures, groups of school children and civic groups, visitors and residents alike, scavenger hunts to find historic places, a museum logo contest, block parties where people can come tell old tales and show off family relics, a real gathering place for the Community. An A/V center will house oral history CDs for listening pleasure. As volunteers permit, walking tours of downtown and drives through town and the horse country will be available.
Where are we now? A search for the location is on. A telethon to raise public awareness of the museum and accept contributions realized $2,000 in one week with an additional 30 people saying they will donate when they have more information. A bank account has been set up at Tryon Federal Bank. An Ex-Officio CPA has agreed to handle obtaining the 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status.
All displays in the museum, whether on loan or a gift, will be protected by a monitored security system and 24-hour surveillance cameras. Trained volunteers will log in and care for artifacts. Like other small town museums visited, there will be no paid staff. S.C.O.R.E’s Small Business Assist Financial Management program outlines managing business finances.
The museum will be sustained by grants, contributions, fundraisers, mail outs, friends of the museum, benefits and live and silent auctions. A start up and operating budget are in the works. In joining the N.C. Museum Council, Tryon will be listed in the State Directory and attract visitors who visit towns to see their museums.
If you would like to support the museum contributions can be mailed to Happy McLeod, PO Box 132, Tryon N.C. 28782. Information 828-283-1177 or

-article submitted
by Happy McLeod

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