From 1989 to 1990, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office directed volunteers in a ten-week salvage excavation of a significant archaeological site in coordination with the county school board. Known as the Cane River School salvage project, it continued with a volunteer lab in Burnsville in 1990-1992 and a two-year archaeology exhibit at the school. The Historic Preservation Office statewide inventory contains information on over 150 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in Yancey County.
The Historic Preservation Office cosponsored and supervised a comprehensive architectural survey of Yancey County from 1981 to 1982.
Since 1984, $6,200 in federal preservation grants have been awarded for an archaeological excavation in Burnsville and an architectural survey of the county. State appropriations of $108,000 have funded restoration and rehabilitation projects at the Rush Wray Museum, Parkway Playhouse, and Yancey County Museum and Visitor Center.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Four properties, all in Burnsville, have been listed in the National Register: (former) Citizens Bank Building, John Wesley McElroy House (Rush Wray Museum), Nu-Wray Inn, and Yancey County Courthouse.
The Historic Preservation Office has provided technical assistance in Burnsville with the restoration of the John Wesley McElroy House as the Rush Wray Museum of Yancey County History, and the adaptive use of the (former) Gulf Service Station as a visitor's center.