Guides to Fayetteville

7 Must See Museums in Fayetteville

If you are anything like us, you love celebrating the history of a thing. The place that you call home is certainly worth learning about. Fayetteville, North Carolina is host to several museums and historical sites that we believe are not only worth your time, but that they will broaden your view and perspective of our little slice of southern North Carolina.  These are our 7 must see museum picks!

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Airborne and Special Operations Museum

Perhaps the most well known museum in Fayetteville is the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. It is well attended by both locals and tourists alike. Their front lawn is often host to photoshoots, flag displays, and memorials.

Indoors you will find their main exhibits that include early Airborne, World War II, the Korean and Cold Wars, Vietnam, and training. They have another area for special exhibits and monthly features. They are currently in-between special exhibits, but in the past they have featured Soldiers: The Global War on Terrorism, The Animal Called POW, and Korea: A War Remembered, to name only a few.

The museum is designed to be a self-guided experience and they do not offer tours. That being said, the exhibits are extremely interesting and well designed and one could spend at least a few hours learning about the history of our Airborne and Special Operations units.

In addition to exhibits, they have a 24-seat simulator, and gift shop.

Cost: FREE, but a $5 donation is recommended
Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
Address: 100 Bragg Blvd, Fayetteville, NC
Click here to view their website.

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Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum

This museum is perhaps the central hub for history in downtown Fayetteville. It is fun and informative for the whole family. In fact, the Historic Properties division operates this museum, Veterans Park, and historic sites to include the Market House (which has a museum upstairs, coincidentally).

The museum is located in an old railway depot and has two floors of exhibits. The exhibits are rotated frequently, so multiple visits are encouraged. The exhibit galleries are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Next door is a museum annex with the continued story of Fayetteville. If you love vintage automobiles and airplanes, the annex is for you!

There are staff led tours available at this museum. They also have a downtown walking tour that highlights local landmarks in the Historic District. You may visit the Market House, Fayetteville Light Infantry Museum and Armory, and more!

Cost: FREE
Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-4pm
Address: 325 Franklin St, Fayetteville, NC
Click here to view their Facebook page.

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Museum of Cape Fear Historical Complex

The premier historic facility in Fayetteville, NC is a window into the past, their website says. They have two floors of permanent exhibits. Learn about the history of southern North Carolina, from the time of the American Indians all the way to the 20th century. What a fantastic way to get to know the place that you live! There is over four hundred years of history in this museum! The museum also offers temporary exhibits. Now through December second is “An Unlikely Refugee: The Story of a Python Named George.”

Their historical complex includes this museum building, the 1897 Poe House (see below), and the historic Arsenal Park, which is, “the remains of an ordnance factory that served both the Federal and Confederate Governments.” If anything, you could spend a good amount of time just exploring these historic buildings. Both the museum and the park are self guided tours.

Arsenal park may in future be home to a North Carolina Civil War & Reconstructions History Center and will be a teaching museum, rather than a collecting museum. The four-acre center will be constructed outside the Arsenal footprint and the existing historical structures are incorporated into the plan. As it stands now, Arsenal Park is an awesome historical footprint and an interesting part of Fayetteville’s history and involvement in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

Cost: FREE
Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
Address: 801 Arsenal Ave, Fayetteville, NC 28305
Click here to view their website.

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1897 Poe House

While this historic location is a part of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, we feel it deserves its own place on our list of Fayetteville Museums. The Poe House requires a guided tour, so make sure you plan around their tour times!

Edgar Allan Poe (not the writer, but a local businessman) was born in Fayetteville and married his bride Josephine of Wake Country in 1880. The Poe House was their home, which Edgar built for his wife and their eight children. Take a tour to learn about their lives and what defines this era. Edgar was an affluent businessman and the tour “highlights women’s roles, African American history, children’s roles, and technological, economic, and social changes in southern North Carolina and the county during this era.”

The house contains many original furnishings. The Poe grounds are even available to rent for special events and the historical Victorian homestead is host to many weddings.

Cost: FREE
Hours: Tue-Fri 11am, 1pm, & 3pm. Saturday every hour on the hour from 10am-4pm. Sunday every hour on the hour from 1pm-4pm.
Address: 206 Bradford Ave, Fayetteville, NC
Click here to view their website.

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Fascinate-U Children’s Museum

What a great place for kids! They have been providing a safe place for children to explore and learn for twenty years. It is for kids who can walk through age twelve.

Kids can learn about stores and shops, tools and building, the army life, post office, emergency services, and more in their fun interactive displays. There is also a toddler room for children under the age of four. You can even host birthday parties for your kiddos in their event rooms and exhibits! Their third floor is host to the Cape Fear Railroaders Association’s model train exhibit.

Located in historic downtown Fayetteville, Fascinate-U is a non-profit organization that prides itself on being a hands-on museum where children have been able to explore their world through creative role-playing for years. It is the only science museum “that fulfills the need for science education among the ten counties of the Cape Fear Region.”

Cost: $4 for children, $3 for adults
Hours: vary by day, closed Monday. Many weekdays are 9am-5pm or 7pm. Weekends close by 5pm and don’t open before 10am. Check their website for specifics.
Address: 116 Green St, Fayetteville, NC
Click here to view their website.

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82d Airborne Division War Memorial Museum

Fort Bragg is home to the 82d Airborne Division. This museum is dedicated to telling the history of the division from 1917 through the present and is the second oldest U.S. Army museum in existence. The one drawback is that the museum is located on post, so if you or a friend or loved one do not have a military ID, you will need to obtain a pass to get on post and visit the museum.

The concept for the museum began in 1945 with Major General Gavin and its first location was a small wooden office building in what is now called “the old Division area.” Unfortunately, the first museum burned now in the 1950s. With its current location on Fort Bragg, the division rebuilt the museum and it has transformed through several building expansions and exhibit redesigns. The story of the 82d is the museum’s main priority and their desire is to share the customs and traditions, to honor the 82d Veterans, and support military families.

The main exhibit is self-guided and includes all original artifacts. There is also a theater that shows a twenty-five minute movie highlighting the 82d Airborne Division history. Their grounds showcase different aircraft that Paratroopers have jumped from since World War II.

Cost: FREE
Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-4:30pm
Address: Building C-6841, 5108 Ardennes St, Fort Bragg, NC
Click here to view their website.

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The US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum

The Special Warfare Museum is also located on Fort Bragg so if you are a civilian without a DoD ID you will need to stop at the visitor center at the All American entrance to obtain a pass for on post to visit the museum.

The museum is a non-profit that was established for everyone to “create and maintain a memorial or memorials of and aid in the preservation of history and traditions of Special Warfare Units, past and present.” One of 64 army museums in the country, the JFK museum exhibits significant historical property that support the training and educational mission of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. All new Special Operations soldiers learn about the history of special forces through this exhibit.

You’re in luck—the JFk museum was closed for some time and reopened just a few months ago at this new location. The general public doesn’t seem to visit very often, but it is open to everyone. The exhibits begin in World War I and go through current operations.

Hours: Tue-Sat 11am-4pm
Address: Building D-2815, Fort Bragg, NC (right across from the JFK Chapel on Ardennes
Click here to view their website.

Whether you’re a history buff, curious novice, teacher, student, or military personnel, we hope that you are able to explore these gems of Cumberland County.

Do you know of a museum we didn’t mention that you would recommend? Please leave it in the comments below! If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like to let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. We put out blog posts like this one every week!

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