The first person to visit the newly renovated Andy Griffith Museum was named Andy Mayberry
Arkansas native Andy Mayberry happened to be in North Carolina by sheer coincidence.
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Mount Airy, North Carolina, sits on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just south of the Virginia border. The quaint small town is best known as the birthplace of Andy Griffith, and the inspiration for the fictional TV hamlet of Mayberry. That's why you'll find the The Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy.
The museum originally opened not too long ago, on September 26, 2009. However, the 1,500-square-foot building has just undergone significant renovations. Visitors can still find the approximately 800 pieces of Andy Griffith ephemera in the musuem, everything from costumes and props to scripts and movie posters. They are now presented in a more engaging way. The upgrade adds a more interactive element to the space. You can stand before a recreation of the Mayberry Courthouse facade, or watch video clips from Griffith's long and illustrious career with the touch of a screen.
After being closed for weeks due to the makeover, the museum reopened on Thursday, June 29, 2017. And, in a wonderful example of kismet, the first visitor to step into the new museum was a man named Andy Mayberry. Really.
Rep. Andy Mayberry lives in Arkansas, where he serves in the state legislature. Mayberry and his family, including his four daughters and wife, were on a road trip, heading from their home in Hensley, Arkansas, to Washington, D.C. The Mayberry clan decided to stop in Mount Airy along the way. Because, naturally, Andy Mayberry is a fan of both Andy and Mayberry. The Mayberrys pulled into town on Thursday, June 29.
Mr. Mayberry had no idea that the museum was due to be reopened. He had never before been to Mount Airy. Tanya Jones, executive director of the Surry Arts Council, which houses and curates the museum, became aware of Andy Mayberry's presence in town and — shazam! — arranged for him to be the first visitor.
Ain't fate funny?