The McBee Museum

Mitchell County Historical Society

Since the early 1890s, this small unassuming building has stood through floods, fires and the spans of time. It has witnessed the history of Bakersville and Mitchell County and has now become an integral part of that history.

Help us preserve its legacy.

View of the McBee Building in the early 1910s before the Great Fire in Bakersville

A Bakersville Institution for Over 130 Years

The McBee Museum, standing at the rear of the Historic Mitchell County Courthouse, dates to the 1890s. Robert L. Prestwood, a local physician, had his practice in the building and is the first known owner. It has served as a store, pharmacy, and office space for several tenants, including noted physician Dr. V.R. Butt. Walter Berry and John C. McBee, Sr. purchased the building from Dr. Butt in 1919, and it served as a law office for the McBee family for several decades. In 1995, Martha McBee Summerour, daughter of John C. McBee, Jr., gifted the building to MCHS. It has been the Mitchell County Historical Museum for the past two decades. The Museum honors the history and heritage of Mitchell County, and the Society is working towards significant updates to the structure and displays to help tell the story of our county and region.

The Museum Restoration Project

The Mitchell County Historical Society is undertaking a project to preserve the Museum structure and enhance its displays. We are working with a contractor to address some issues with the building, then will begin development of modern displays that tell Mitchell County’s story.

The project is being undertaken in phases.

Exterior of the McBee Museum in Bakersville, NC

Phase I - Structural Repairs

Working with a contractor, we have developed a list of repairs to stabilize and repair the building to prepare it for new displays. The following needs (and estimated costs for each fix) have been identified:

  • Front Door Replacement ($900.00)
  • Repair Door Sill ($125.00)
  • Replace Window Sills ($900.00)
  • Purchase Paint for Building (estimated $200)
  • Replace Building Footers To Stabilize Structure ($9,600.00)
  • Level Terrain Around The Building ($1,200.00)
  • Repair Tin Metal Roof ($75.00)
  • Remove Chimney On Building ($350.00)
  • Repair Building Siding ($45.00)

Total Cost for Phase I: $15,000

Interior Image of a Display in the McBee Museum in Bakersville, North Carolina. On display are items from World War II military uniforms

Phase II - Exhibit Development

As part of the Museum restoration, MCHS plans to develop and display new exhibits that tell the story of Mitchell County. This will include new lighting in the building, development of modern display spaces that feature items from our collection. and the use of technology to help tell the story.

Phase II will commence once work on the building is completed.

Total Cost for Phase II: $10,000 (estimated)

Timeline for Project

  • Fundraising Campaign: First Half of 2022
  • Phase I Renovations Start: Fall, 2022


Progress to Goal

The Phase I goal is $15,000.
We have received $250.00
in contributions for the project.

How You Can Help

MCHS is seeking donors to help us preserve and enhance the McBee Museum, and we can use your help!

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, and donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law (please consult you tax advisor for specific information).

To donate, you can use any of the following:

  • Stop By Our Office in the Historic Mitchell County Courthouse in Bakersville, NC
  • Mail Your Contribution to MCHS McBee Museum Renovation Fund, P.O. Box 651, Bakersville, NC 28705
  • Make an Online Donation by clicking or tapping the PayPal button below. Select “McBee Museum” to earmark your donation for the project


We will post periodic updates of our campaign and renovation efforts on this page, so check back regularly for the latest on the project!