Tobacco Farm Life Museum Hires New Executive Director


KENLY – The Board of Directors of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum has named Michael (Mike) C. Rhodes the museum’s Executive Director. Rhodes is responsible for the daily operations of the museum, for the long-term planning, policies, any research conducted within the museum, and for the museum’s fiscal health including application for grants to sustain the long-term operations and upgrades to the museum’s facilities. In addition, he is responsible for securing and overseeing the museum’s collections.

Rhodes has been the museum’s Guest Relations & Visitor Services Coordinator since May 2021. In this position, he conducted research for museum exhibits and social media posts, provided information for guests seeking to further understand the exhibits and agrarian culture, participated in planning and implementing museum events, and conducted site maintenance.

Rhodes taught social studies in Johnston County from August 2018 until January 2022. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts, History, from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with an expected graduation in July 2022. He is a 2018 graduate of the Archaeology Field School, Charleston, SC and has received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, 2004, from Shippensburg University as well as post baccalaureate secondary social studies teaching certification from Shippensburg University, 2008.

Other work experiences include Residence Life Coordinator at South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, ESL (English as Second Language) in Changwon, Daegu, Mokpo, South Korea, and Gateway to Technology Teacher at Beck Academy in Greenville, SC. He also worked as Child Welfare Caseworker and Income Maintenance Caseworker for Social Services in Pennsylvania. Rhodes served as Telecommunications Specialist in the United States Army from June 1997 until July 2001.

Susan Ford, Chairman of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum, said, “We are thrilled to offer this position to Mike. During his time with the museum, he has demonstrated leadership qualities and a passion for the museum that will carry us into the future, successfully fulfilling the mission of the museum to preserve and present the history and heritage of the rural farming community.”

The Tobacco Farm Life Museum is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides educational programs and community events for all ages through programs such as Stepping into The Past Series, Ag Camps, and the Living History Program. The museum is available for rent for events for the public.

For more information, please go to or call 919-284-3431. The museum is located on US Highway 301 in Kenly.


  1. What happened to the nice young lady that had that position before him? Melody did an awesome job!

  2. When will this county stop celebrating this thing that has killed millions of people already … a legal drug only because those higher ups know they would lose their heads, jobs, etc if they tried to ban it like it should be – yet heaven forbid a plant like marijuana that can help people with pain, seizures, alzheimer’s and other ailments sends you to jail. Rather backwards. One kills millions and the other has never killed one person. Time for a change in thinking….

      • To be clear, no adult has died from a marijuana overdose. Not sure if this will let me post an article but I will try. Usually the person in an accident has alcohol in their system along with marijuana, so again, the alcohol is more of a killer than the marijuana. Just like with percocet, for example – most non addicts could drive safely after taking one pill…. however add in a few alcoholic drinks and it’s a completely different situation. I would rather see alcohol made illegal and marijuana legal – if just for medical purposes, but have no issue for recreational purposes with an age limit imposed. However we know from alcohol and cigarette sales, that age limits fail miserably.

  3. While my comment await moderation, what my post was meant to convey was that it seems that there is more often than not another drug or known or unknown condition that causes death or injury. Rarely marijuana alone. Even the lung cancer ruling had to add that most marijuana uses also smoked tobacco. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. I have tried marijuana for medical reasons and it helped me tremendously. Not all strains however – that is why it would be nice to have it legalized and have knowledge people who could help people in pain or other health conditions find the right type to use, the correct amount to use and the right type to use. I, for one, would never smoke marijuana, so I would need to use another type of product to help me. Again, someone with knowledge and not just someone off the streets would be a life saver to many people here in NC and all over the world.

  4. I’ve been to the tobacco museum many times. Interesting to see how people lived in older times. The buildings and grounds are well kept. Nice staff also.

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