Passport program encourages visits to local museums

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 5, 2024

GOLD HILL — “Miles for Museums,” a cooperative passport program, is encouraging people to visit area museums and communities this summer.

A wide range of museums throughout the region, including some local ones, are participating in the program that runs through the summer months. These include Historic Gold Hill, N.C. Music Hall of Fame & Museum and CURB Motorsports & Music Museum, both in Kannapolis, and Price of Freedom Museum in China Grove.

Visitors can pick up a passport at any of the participating museums and begin collecting stamps or answering questions as they go to each museum. 

According to a release, participants can also earn prizes along the way, and completed passports can be turned in to be entered in a raffle. Museums are also partnering with local businesses to offer discounts and incentives to passport holders.

The Miles for Museums program offers free or low-cost adventures while learning about local history and visiting new places and communities.

The Price of Freedom Museum, in the old Patterson School, located at 2420 Weaver Road, China Grove, is an American war memorial, which is dedicated to those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

Steve Stroud, a member of the board of trustees, said that it has been called the best kept secret in the county.

“It’s an awesome museum honoring our vets and most people don’t know about it, even the Rowan County residents,” he said. 

And the great thing about the museum is that it honors local veterans.

Memorabilia from all is taken, but he did note they are focusing on World War II now with the 80th anniversary of the war coming soon.

And they are also trying to upgrade their displays on recent conflicts, telling that a Gulf War veteran is currently working on a display.  

“This school house is completely full of military memorabilia from local (veterans), most of it came from within 20 miles from here,” Stroud said.

And a building in the back, provided by Tom Smith, houses some military vehicles from him as well, he said. 

The goal of the museum, as noted on their website, is “to teach all generations the true price of freedom” and there is a classroom in the building where students, if they come on a class field trip, go to hear veterans speak.

Admission is free with free parking, however, donations are accepted. The museum is open from 3-5 p.m. on Sundays. Appointments may also be made by calling Bobby Harrison at 704-202-3301.

For more information, visit

The N.C. Music Hall of Fame & Museum is a nonprofit organization which was started to honor musicians, composers and artists who have ties to North Carolina. It is located within the CURB Motorsports & Music Museum, a museum focused on music and NASCAR racing, 600 Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, Kannapolis.

Both museums are open from 10 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Wanting to get more people from the area to come and visit the museum is why Veronica Cordle, executive director for the N.C. Music Hall of Fame & Museum said she would encourage people to participate in the Miles for Museum program.

“We thought this would be a fantastic way to get more folks out,” she said.

Visit their website at for additional information.

As for the Curb Records & Motorsports Museum, Gene Overcash, who serves as general manager for the building, said one reason he would encourage people to visit is, “the record company of Mike Curb is probably the biggest record company in the United States. We are 60 years old this year.”

And he added that they are the only place that has the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

There are “two museums in one building,” he said, “and it’s free.”

For details about the Curb Records & Motorsports Museum, go to

“People can come by each of these locations just to learn the history of the particular area where the museums are located,” said Vivian Hopkins, who serves as vice president of the Historic Gold Hill and Mines Foundation and is a Gold Hill merchant.

The check-in point for Historic Gold Hill, which is in eastern Rowan County, will be E.H. Montgomery General Store, which is Hopkins’ shop located at 770 St. Stephens Church Road. 

At the store, she said there would be history displays, and “on weekends I will have a video running so people can learn about the history of Gold Hill.”

This community of shops, Hopkins said, is a historic-theme town, which just celebrated its bicentennial weekend as the first gold discovery was in 1824 at what became Gold Hill.

Hours for some of the some of the things visitors can see and do include the Gold Hill Mines Historic Park, which is open daily during daylight hours and features the Gold Hill Rail Trail with hiking and biking trails and picnic areas. The typical hours for the shops in the village are Friday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

E.H. Montgomery Store is open those same hours except on Fridays. They are open until 9 p.m. because they host bluegrass music on those evenings.

The restaurant, Flynn’s Village Grill, is open Wednesday and Thursday for dinner from 5-9 p.m. and on Friday-Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for lunch and dinner.

For additional information visit the website They also have Facebook and Instagram pages as well, Historic Gold Hill North Carolina.

In addition to these, other museums taking part in the program are: Badin Historic Museum; Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society Museum, Mt. Pleasant; Locust Historical Society and Museum; Matthews Heritage Museum; Oakboro Museum of History; Oakboro Railroad Museum; and Stanly County History Center, Albemarle.