Last updated: 1/2/2017
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Street Address
319 N. Churton St.
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Mailing Address
PO Box 922
Hillsborough, NC 27278
phone: 919-732-7451
Wednesday - Saturday11 AM - 4 PM
Sunday1 PM - 4 PM
Tours at 1 pm Wednesday - Friday, On demand Saturday and Sunday
Free Admission; donations welcome.
Free. Donations Accepted.
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Kate Faherty, Executive Director
phone: 919-732-7451
Ronda Tucker, Site Manager
phone: 919-732-7451

The Burwell School is a a historic house museum on two acres in the Historic District of Hillsborough, NC, which was founded in 1754 and laid out in acre lots. The site includes the two-story frame building begun in 1821 and expanded in 1848, which served until that time as the Presbyterian manse as well as a girls' school. The site is named for the Burwell family which operated the school: Robert Armistead Burwell and wife Margaret Anna Robertson Burwell, both from and distinguished Virginia families, and their twelve children. The site includes a restored brick classroom building and a restored brick "necessary" building, as well as a small Southern garden and an example of the rare Musk Rose which was discovered on the property and was associated with the Robertson and Burwell families.


To preserve the Burwell School Historic Site and brings its story to the public.


The Burwell School Historic Site is a house museum displaying the home of the Rev. and Mrs. Robert Burwell, who from 1837 - 1857 operated a landmark female day and boarding academy attended by over 200 girls from the local area as well as across the state and beyond. From 1835 - 1841 this was also the home and workplace of Elizabeth Hobbs, later Elizabeth Keckly (1818 -1907), a young slave woman who later succeeded in purchasing her freedom and establishing a successful business as a modiste (designer/dressmaker) in Washington, DC, where she was the personal modiste and confidante to Mary Lincoln, an experience she documented in her autobiography.

The house was also a refuge in the Civil War for the wealthy and numerous family of Josiah Collins III of Washington County, NC.

Artifact Collections

Some personal possessions of the Burwell family and students at the School; some examples of the furniture of Thomas Day.

Research Collections

Online database of research on students at the School via:

Educational Programs

In-depth tours Wednesday - Friday at 1 pm; on demand Saturday and Sunday.

School groups, Scout Groups, and other groups welcome for special tours.


Available for rental (weddings, meetings, parties).


The Historic Hillsborough Commission, established by the NC General Assembly in 1963, owns and operates the Burwell School Historic Site. The Commission is a non-profit organization representative of the greater community of Hillsborough and Orange County, NC and members are appointed by the NC Governor. All funds are raised locally from donors, events, and local government grants.


Annual report; online newsletters 3 times a year.


Downstairs accessible.



A Historical Experience for your Special Events!

Host your wedding, reception, or special event at the Burwell School Historic Site, Hillsborough N.C. The site makes a lovely and picturesque setting for any occasion. We are located in Historical Downtown Hillsborough, conveniently located near I-85/40, close to Greesnboro, Burlington, Mebane, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh-Durham. The site's expansive lawn and period gardens surround a stately frame house with a long, inviting front porch. The Burwell Home features two parlors, a wide central hall with a handsome mahogany stairway and a formal dining room, all furnished with period antiques.

We can provide a coordinator for your event at your request. We also help facilitate local vendors, caterers, musicians, photographers, and anyone else who can make your event a success.

Special Event Rental

Group Tours

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