I was traveling east of Raleigh on Highway 264 when I saw a sign for the Country Doctor Museum; the sign surely was magnetized because before I knew it, I was on the exit and following the signs to a place I had ever been before.
The museum is not far from 264, and I was pleased to discover this fascinating part of American history. The tour was very informative; I learned many things, including that the museum, was opened in 1967 by local ladies, spearheaded by Dr. Josephine Newell, who lived next door to where the museum now stands.
With more than 5,000 medical artifacts The Country Doctor Museum in Bailey NC is the oldest museum of its type in the country.
A few points of interest were the apothecary cabinets that house many ingredients as well as tools that doctors would use to make medications for their patients.
The dental display was impressive and also unsettling, there where dental implements of every kind showcased.
The Carriage House has several well maintained older vehicles, a few carriages, and a saddle. Because they made house calls, physicians were often the first members of a community to own vehicles. The Polio exhibit is also located in The Carriage House.
In 2003 the museum was donated to East Carolina University Medical and Health Science Foundation thus ensuring its guardianship, continued preservation, and operations for future generations.
As I was taking the tour, I realized that this museum would make a great segment for our show, Life In The Carolinas. At the end of the guided tour I asked if the director was available, she was not. However, the tour guide said that she would ask the Curatorial Director to give me a call the following day, and that is what happened.
I received a call from Jennie Graham, and we talked about the idea of producing a segment for the show, she was excited to work with us and within a few months, the plans were set for our on-location production.
With as much as I had learned on the first tour, I was surprised at how much I gained on the day of our production. The new discoveries were to the delight of my producers as they feel if I discover things on camera for the first time, it is more exciting and natural. We were all pleased with the production and how the segment turned out when it aired some months later.
We did, however, have a bonus on our trip to Bailey. It was when we had wrapped production at the museum and asked where we should have lunch. It was an easy choice; Baileys Café was the best place in town to eat. So that’s where we went. When we arrived, we could tell it was the right choice.
We ordered, and the service was excellent, and the food was fresh and tasty. The room is impressive; the walls have shelves on which teapots set, and not just a few. There were more than 1,700 teapots on display. In a conversation with owner, Roddie Hancock he shared with me how his thirty-year teapot journey started with one teapot he bought at a yard sale for four dollars.
The collection includes teapots from around the world that Hancock has collected. The collection has grown so much in popularity that customers will add to the collection because they know their family teapots will be in a place of honor.
As you might guess, we got our cameras out and produced a segment on Baily Café and the man with a lot of teapots.
It was a beautiful day, and I’m glad we made a house call to Bailey NC.