Who We Are

Who We Are
Transylvania Heritage Museum, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit established in 2007 and located at 189 West Main Street in Brevard NC.  The Museum is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 am until 5 pm.  The Museum opens during March and closes mid-December.

This Old House
The house that holds the Museum was built by Thomas D. England in the late 1890's.  It once stood proudly on Main Street, but was moved to its present location in the 1980's when the property was purchased for development.

Thomas England was the nephew of Alexander England, one of the three men who donated land to form Brevard in 1861 when Transylvania County was founded.   Thomas owned a dry goods business in Brevard, at one time located in the building that currently houses O.P. Taylor's.  Thomas raised three daughters in this house, Edith, Ethel and Bertha.  Later, he built two other houses beside this one, and gave each daughter a home to live in.  This house belonged to Edith and her husband Harry Patton. Harry was the Town Manager of Brevard in the 1930's and was instrumental in bringing Harry Straus and Ecusta to Transylvania County.

The house remained in the family until the 1980's. Several family members have visited since the Museum opened and have shared artifacts as well as memories.

Our Beginnings
During the 125th anniversary celebration of Transylvania County, NC in 1986, hundreds of people signed a petition encouraging the formation of a county museum. The Jim Bob Tinsley Museum, a non-profit organization, was opened in May 1994 in Brevard, NC. The museum provided free public access to the lifelong collections of Jim Bob and Dottie Tinsley. Artifacts, paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings, and research materials associated with the ten books Jim Bob Tinsley had published were on display. Bill Tinsley, Jim Bob's nephew, expanded the concept of the museum to include a Family Research Center.

In 2003, Tony Morrow, Director of the JBT Museum, convened a group of interested individuals and representatives from organizations in Transylvania County, and the Transylvania Heritage Coalition (THC) was formed. The THC, now the ruling body of the Transylvania Heritage Museum, was incorporated by the State of NC and a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was received from the IRS. This means donations and other gifts are tax deductible.

On December 23, 2007, the Jim Bob Tinsley Museum closed, making the space and many assets available for the Transylvania Heritage Museum (THM). Thanks to volunteers as well as Exhibit Planner Anna Fariello of Curatorial Insight, the THM opened in May 2008. It now houses temporary and permanent displays of heirlooms, artifacts, genealogical exhibits, vintage photographs, and other exhibits reflective of the history and heritage of the county.

Jim Bob Tinsley
Jim Bob Tinsley was born in Brevard, North Carolina on August 12, 1921, and was educated in Transylvania County Schools, The University of Florida, and Arizona State College at Flagstaff. He served four years as an aerial photographer with the Navy in North Africa, Sicily and Italy during World War II.

For all his adult life Jim Bob photographed waterfalls of Transylvania County, researched their history and collected anecdotal materials. During the same time period he collected, preformed and preserved Western music and memorabilia. He received many awards and honors for his lifetime work.  Unfortunately, Jim Bob passed away on January 18, 2004.

The Transylvania Heritage Museum continues to honor his contributions to Transylvania County by showcasing his collections in a designated case in the Museum.  The Museum also encourages donations to the Jim Bob and Dottie Tinsley Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to Transylvania County Students pursuing a career in journalism.

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