The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, under the direction of Old Wilkes, Inc., was created in 2008 to celebrate and preserve the musical heritage of the greater Blue Ridge Mountains, which spans northern Georgia to northern Virginia. A permanent exhibit will open at the Wilkes Heritage Museum. The 2008 inductees were Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, The Carter Family, Tommy Jarrell, David Johnson, Dolly Parton, Ralph Rinzler, Ralph Epperson, Wayne Henderson, and Sam Love. Five new inductees are expected each subsequent year.
Old Wilkes, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization formed in 1968. In addition to the Wilkes Heritage Museum (former Wilkes County Courthouse, c. 1902)., Old Wilkes Inc. operates the 18th Century Robert Cleveland House, 19th Century Finley Law office, and the 19th Century Old Wilkes Jail where Otto Wood and Tom Dula were incarcerated.
Wilkes County, North Carolina formed from Rowan County and the District of Washington in 1777. In 1799, Ashe County was partitioned from the western part of Wilkes County. In 1841, Caldwell County was formed from the southern district of Wilkes and part of Burke County. The county seat is Wilkesboro. Well-known personalities and events include the Siamese Twins Eng and Chang Bunker, Tom Dula, Stoneman's Raid, and the annual MerleFest. It is also the home to the Moses Adams Manuscript, one of the nation's oldest ballad collections.