I visited The Andy Griffith Museum as a part of a familiarization trip with Visit Mayberry. All opinions are my own.
I’m always a little surprised to meet someone who isn’t familiar with Andy Griffith. I love the Andy Griffith Show. Notice I say, “love” and not “loved.” I still enjoy evenings laughing and learning with Andy and the gang. In fact, the time we lived with my parents while in transition, we watched Andy Griffith most evenings with them and the kids. The show is timeless. There are so many great life lessons and hysterically funny moments. It never gets old!
I jumped at the chance to visit Mayberry and take a stroll with Andy. The Andy Griffith Museum is located in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the city where Andy Griffith was born in 1926. Mount Airy served as a basis in many ways to the fictional town of Mayberry. There are over 35 people, places, and things in Mount Airy that are referenced in the sitcom. For example, there is a Pilot Mountain near Mount Airy. I recognized this right away as the characters of Andy Griffith were always running over to Mount Pilot!
There are many neat items that you will recognize from the show as well as things like call sheets, scripts, and lots of interesting trivia along the way.
Many items in the museum were collected by lifelong Mount Airy resident Emmett Forrest, who was the founding curator of the museum and a personal friend of Andy’s since childhood. Forrest built the collection and it was dedicated in 2009. Though Forrest passed away in 2013, his passion lives on as the museum continues to preserve and share Andy Griffith’s legacy.
As much as I love the Andy Griffith Show, the museum follows Andy’s life before and beyond the show. Andy Griffith attended elementary school at the site of the Earl Theater and performed on stage there during the 1930s and 1940s. Did you know that the show Matlock ran longer than The Andy Griffith Show? While he may be remembered best as Andy Taylor, he did so, so much more.
Remember Snappy Lunch? Gotta grab a sandwich! The original Snappy Lunch is an actual place in town that makes the most amazing pork chop sandwich, a must try!
Admission to The Andy Griffith Museum also includes additional exhibits including: the Betty Lynn exhibit; the Mount Airy to Mayberry Photo exhibit; the Mayberry Mural in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre; the Original Siamese Twins exhibit; and the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall at the Historic Earle Theatre, all within walking distance of the museum.
The Betty Lynn exhibit is located around and in the downstairs of the Andy Griffith Museum. I found it fascinating that Betty Lynn, best known as Barney Fife’s long time girlfriend, moved to Mount Airy later in life after years of attending Mayberry days there. Everyone speaks very highly of her! Betty Lynn comes every third Friday to the museum to sign autographs!
Also in the downstairs of the museum is the Original Siamese Twins exhibit! Andy Griffeth is not Mount Airy’s only claim to fame. Eng and Chang were born in the village of Meklong, Siam, which is now Thailand, on May 11, 1811. The twins, who were never separated, were connected at the chest by a cartilaginous band of flesh.
Eng and Chang moved to Mount Airy in 1845. They built a home and married sisters Adelaide and Sarah Yates on April 13, 1843. The two families produced twenty-two children! Who better to tell us Eng and Chang’s story than Tonya, a great, great granddaughter? The twin’s story is incredible! You can read more about them here.
Admission to the Andy Griffith museum is $8 for adults and $6 for those ages 12 and under!
Looking for more to do in Mount Airy? Check out Visit Mayberry!