Martinsville, Virginia


New Exhibits & Opening Reception at the MHC Heritage Museum

By: John Phillips, President, Board of Directors Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society

May 30, 2024


New Exhibit Opening Reception
A reception for the new exhibits at the MHC Heritage Museum will be held on Friday, June 14, 2024, 5:30-7:30 P.M., at 1 E. Main Street, Martinsville. Wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Please RSVP attendance (name and number of people in your party) to 276-403-4697 or by June 11, 2024.

New Exhibits
If you haven’t been in awhile to see what’s new, it’s time to visit the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Museum (formerly the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center & Museum).

The museum, located in the Historic Henry County Courthouse at 1 E. Main Street, Martinsville, has three new exhibits plus a new children’s area:

Connected Community” shows the ways people of the area have remained in touch and in the know.  They include local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and company newsletters.  Highlights of the exhibit include:

  • The August 11, 1961, edition of the Martinsville Tribune, a newspaper by and for black residents during the Civil Rights era.  Its front-page article describes how the four Martinsville lunch counters were integrated on August 8, 1961.  That article, plus an article on the same topic by the mainstream newspaper, the Martinsville Bulletin, are printed out and on display.
  • An Amberola record player which plays cylindrical, not disc-shaped, records, on loan from Walter Shepard of Martinsville.
  • Early radios, along with four front-page newspaper articles from 1922, the year the first radios came to Martinsville, describing the wonder of radio and who was listening to what on the radio.

Sew Special” celebrates how homemakers in years past sewed the clothes their families wore.  Highlights include:

  • Dresses made by four generations of the Mary Ann Elizabeth Moore family, lent by her granddaughter, Judy Epperly.
  • Sewing machines and sundries through the years.
  • Sewing tutelage book and supplies owned by Rosa Boyd Austin, who had been the seamstress for the R. J. Reynolds’ family, lent by her granddaughter, Barbara Parcell Shively.

MHC After Dark” is about mid-century nightlife and other events at Paradise Inn and Club Martinique.  This exhibit is upstairs, paired with a selection of dresses, and fur coats worn by women in the mid-1900s.

The Children’s Area started with a child-sized table and chairs donated by Ann Martin.  It has activities for children, including a miniature log cabin donated by Carolyn Beale of Martinsville, lace-up cards, foam blocks and other pastimes.


People who have lent and/or gifted items for these exhibits include:

Carolyn Beale of Martinsville ● Dora Bennett of Martinsville

Ann Crenshaw of Martinsville ● Alex Crowder of Fieldale

Linda Demarcey of Martinsville ● Judy Epperly of Martinsville

Regina Flora of Ridgeway ● Steve Isom of Fieldale

Debbie Hall of the Enterprise ● Tiffany Hayworth of Martinsville

Cheryl Hedgecock of Spencer ● Dr. Mervyn King of Martinsville

Holly Kozelsky of Dyer Store ● Sheila Martin of Bassett

Myrna McCrickard Ferguson of Collinsville ● Joe Prater of Fieldale

Steve Merricks of Stanleytown ● Davis Scott of Bassett

Barbara Parcell Shively of Martinsville ● O. G. Reid of Martinsville

Charles Roark of Star News ● Kathy Shelton of Spencer

Walter Sheppard of Martinsville ● Brenda Williams of Martinsville

Admission to the museum is free.