Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society to expand into new museum

Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Construction is now underway for the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society’s $2.8 million museum behind the old courthouse.

The two-floor, 13,000-square-feet facility will include interactive displays, a library for research, and a meeting room.

Historical Society member Dr. Mervyn King and his wife have been collecting for over 40 years. Now, they need somewhere to house his many collections.

“Even the size of the museum won’t be large enough to house them,” said Dr. King. “We have the sixth-largest collection of antique tools in the country. So, I have a number of different things. I love the variety. A lot of people I think would enjoy it.”

Some of King’s items date back to the 1600s such as original Native American pieces and even a gun from the last survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn.

He also has some of the first household pieces from the industrial revolution and many Marklin toys.

“I think it’s important to have something remaining that’s significant that will be good for history in the future and preserve and promote history. I think learning more about history is very important,” added Dr. King.

“You can see why we need the museum to store his collection for future generations in a place where the public can see it,” said Virginia King.

King thinks the museum will complement Piedmont Arts and the Virginia Museum of Natural History and wants them all to work together.

“It’s like a restaurant. You don’t serve the exact same food. The more food you have, the more people come to eat because they like something different. The more it is to see, the farther they come from, and best of all, the more money they spend. So, it’s a very tremendous benefit I think for this community,” said Dr. King.

They are currently looking to hire an executive director along with other positions for the new museum.

They hope it will be open by the end of next year.