The Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, N.C., is the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of America's rural health care. Over the decades, the Museum's collection has grown to more than 5,000 medical artifacts relevant to the practice of medicine between the late 18th century and the first half of the 20th century, as well as many volumes of historic texts gathered from across the nation. The interpretive range also expanded from rural doctors to include topics such as nursing, pharmaceuticals and home remedies.
Docents lead tours through three buildings of exhibits and are available to answer questions. Visitors start their tour at the Farmer Annex, a late 1800’s farm house now home to the Museum’s gift shop, administrative offices and keeping room.
The original Museum building is comprised of two former country doctor offices, and the medicinal herb garden is located behind this building. The Carriage House features the Museum’s transportation exhibit, as well as the display “The Art of Nursing."
You are invited to visit The Country Doctor Museum for a unique experience discovering the challenges and triumphs of healthcare and medicine in early rural America.
The Country Doctor Museum is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday, except major holidays and during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. All tours are guided and available every hour on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The museum is located in Bailey, N.C., at the SR 581 exit off Highway 264 between Raleigh and Wilson.
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(All photos courtesy The Country Doctor Museum.)