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“Off the Beaten Path Historical Site”
Review of Duke Homestead

Duke Homestead
Ranked #13 of 85 things to do in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: At Duke Homestead, visitors can tour the early home, factories, and farm where Washington Duke first grew and processed tobacco. Duke's sons later founded The American Tobacco Company, the largest tobacco company in the world. The Dukes became one of the wealthiest families in the country at the turn of the 20th century and now lend their name to Duke University, Duke Energy, and the Duke Endowment.Duke Homestead offers an orientation film twice an hour, an extensive tobacco museum, and guided tours of the surviving historical structures on the grounds. Among these structures are early Bright Leaf tobacco barns, Washington Duke's first and third factories, and his 1852 homestead.The museum contains exhibits regarding tobacco farming, manufacturing, and marketing. Annual events include an Herb, Garden, and Craft Festival in June; Pork, Pickles and Peanuts: Tastes of North Carolina festival in July; a summer children's festival in August; the Tobacco Harvest Festival and Mock Tobacco Auction in September; and Christmas by Candlelight programs in December.
Reviewed 9 November 2017

I grew up visiting Duke Homestead, and over the years I've come to appreciate it more. So much of Durham's history is rooted here, with tobacco farming, and it's amazing to see how much it impacted our communities and state. Touring the property doesn't take all that long, but I recommend a good few hours at the homestead to browse through the museum, and read up on everything. I think every Durham resident should visit the Duke Homestead at some point!
*I wouldn't recommend bringing little kids under the age of 7 or 8... you want them to be old enough to sort of understand where you are, and to be respectful of the museum and grounds! We left our little guy at home when we recently visited, and boy was I glad :)

Thank Meredith S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"tobacco industry"
in 27 reviews
"tobacco museum"
in 12 reviews
"guided tour"
in 17 reviews
"north carolina"
in 12 reviews
"interesting history"
in 7 reviews
"extensive museum"
in 3 reviews
"american tobacco"
in 9 reviews
"historic sites"
in 4 reviews
"different buildings"
in 2 reviews
"self guided"
in 2 reviews
"civil war"
in 7 reviews
"small farm"
in 2 reviews
"great history lesson"
in 2 reviews
"minute video"
in 2 reviews
"the barn"
in 2 reviews
"picnic area"
in 2 reviews
"worth a stop"
in 2 reviews
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Reviewed 8 November 2017 via mobile

The Duke family was central to the Raleigh/Durham area due to their innovations in tobacco growing, tobacco product manufacturing and marketing.

They became incredibly wealthy and poured out benevolence on the local community - think Duke University.

This homestead site now offers a movie, museum and guided or self-guided property tours so you can learn about the Duke family and about each step in the tobacco process.

Everything is free. We gladly would have paid for the experience. Terrific!

Thank Dawn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2017

We've visited Duke Homestead a few times. It's a place we often bring visitors, as it provides interesting insight into the history of the tobacco industry in NC and also provides the history of one of the state's most influential families.
Definitely begin your visit with the excellent film, which provides an overview of the tobacco industry in America. Tobacco was an important part of the colonial economy, but Duke Homestead focuses on the evolution of tobacco-growing after the Civil War, and the film provides some important historical context for understanding this evolution. The film is entertaining, educational, and fast-paced (my dad actually said he wished it was longer, because it was so interesting!).
You will definitely want to take the guided tour of the historic sites on the property. If you have to wait for the tour, then visit the onsite museum, which is surprisingly large and provides loads of information about both the Duke family and about the tobacco industry, including its impact on the world of advertising. The museum is very interesting, and you can visit its many galleries either before or after your tour of the historic site.
The tour guides at Duke Homestead are wonderful. They are always friendly, engaging, and knowledgeable. You will begin your tour with a history of Washington Duke's family, and then you'll head out to the tobacco barn to see first-hand how tobacco was cured in the 19th century. Be sure to stick your head in the door to get a whiff of the fragrant, smoky tobacco. After visiting the barn, the tour continues to the curing barn, the second factory, and the homestead itself, where you can see how the Dukes lived in their modest dwelling (before they relocated to fancier digs downtown). The shed which was the first tobacco factory --- where Washington and his children first began rolling tobacco --- can be viewed alongside the house, but it is not open for tours. Several outbuildings behind the house are open, though.
Duke Homestead is a very worthwhile site to visit. It provides deeper understanding into the crop that provided the backbone of North Carolina's economy for two centuries, and it also provides deeper understanding of the Duke family and the influence they had over the state and nation.

Thank katsusanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2017 via mobile

It is amazing all the information about the tobacco industry of our country since the late 1800. It is a must when in Durham. It is free and the people that work there are so friendly and helpful. It takes you back in time and makes you wonder how it must have been living back then. You can also spend most of your day enjoying the view or reading a book once you finished your tour.

Thank LocaLucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 October 2017

I admit I avoided visiting this state historic site because I did not want to support the tobacco industry, but the only folks benefiting from a visit to the Duke Homestead nowadays are people like me who appreciate history and are curious enough to want to know more. There are 3 components to a visit and all were quality experiences, very well designed: A 17-minute documentary film, a 45-minute guided tour of the buildings and grounds, and a museum with handsome, interactive and educational displays. I have visited twice and each time wished I had allowed myself more time with the museum exhibits. You will learn the history of the Duke family (finally, I understand who was who), demonstrations on growing tobacco and insights to the tobacco auctions that not so recently were commonplace in Durham, plus insights to the early years of product and brand advertising. Today the site is operated by NC state; the Duke endowment is not a contributor.

1  Thank RahRahPR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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