Plan Your Visit

First Steps to a Great Field Trip


Our galleries are filled with interactive, multi-sensory components that ignite curiosity.  Learners can use headphones to listen to oral histories, instruments or radio shows, or engage with our state-of-the-art Common Threads touch screen table.  Our programs for grades K-2nd and 2nd and up can easily be customized by educators based on your time, budget and students.  Use our On Tour Outreach Trunks before or after a visit to enhance your students’ experiences.

In order to provide the best experience for your staff, students and chaperones, advance reservations are required. School trips may be scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

For more information or reservations, call or email: 704.487.6233 or



How many chaperones do I need? Elementary age groups should have 1 adult per 5-7 students. For older students have 1 adult per 5-10 students. Chaperones will be actively leading, working and having fun with their group.  If these numbers are a hardship for you, please let us know when scheduling.

Where is the ESC located and where should our buses park?  We are located in a 1907 courthouse in uptown Shelby, NC.  Our Guest Services building and main entrance is on the Washington Street side of the courthouse square.  While our mailing address is 103 S Lafayette, when visiting, set your GPS to 118 Washington St, Shelby, NC.  This address will bring you right to our front door!  When scheduling, let us know how many buses you’ll be bringing so we can put out orange cones to reserve your parking spots in front of our Guest Services building on our Washington Street entrance.

Do you have activity sheets that my students can use in the exhibit galleries?  Yes, they are on our website.  Teachers can choose which sheet is the right fit for their students.  Make copies and bring them with you to the Center.  You provide the copies, we’ll provide the pencils and clipboards!  We highly recommend using activity sheets with your students in the galleries – it’s a great way for them to interact with the exhibits and artifacts.

Can my group eat lunch on the courthouse square?  Yes, let us know when scheduling and we will call the county and make arrangements for you.  The grounds are owned by the county.

How much is it for a program at the Earl Scruggs Center?  Price per student varies based on the program, but our programs are affordable and fun.  Click the links (K-2nd and 2nd and up) to see more program information, including pricing.

In addition to the main floor galleries, what other exhibits are open?  Our second floor has our banjo petting zoo, oral history booth and special exhibit gallery.

Is there a gift shop and will the students be able to visit it?  Yes and yes!  We have a gift shop located in our Guest Services building.  Items include pens, magnets and stickers.  Prices range from $.95 and up.  If your group is interested in visiting the gift shop, let us know when making your reservation so we can be sure to have plenty of change and schedule time.