Priceless Gem Tours

Views of spring on McCorkle Place around the Old Well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each academic year, UNC Visitors’ Center hosts a special series of campus tours—the Priceless Gems—in addition to its daily tours about Carolina’s mission and history, traditions, legends and landmarks.

These on-campus walking tours are led by experts on specific aspects of Carolina History. The tour is free, open to the public, and lasts about an hour to an-hour-and-a-half. Tours begin at UNC-Chapel Hill Visitors’ Center, located in the West Wing of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, located in downtown Chapel Hill at 250 East Franklin Street.   

 “This campus and community is literally filled with priceless gems,” said Missy Julian-Fox, director of UNC Visitors’ Center. “These special tours are an extraordinary opportunity to explore one topic in more depth with an expert in the field. The name ‘priceless gem’ comes from Carolina’s alma mater called ‘Hark the Sound’ written by alum William Starr Myers in 1897.”

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Priceless Gem Tours are offered select Fridays and begin at 3 p.m. from UNC Visitors’ Center.  To reserve your space, please email us at In case of inclement weather, or for any additional questions, please call UNC Visitors’ Center at 919-962-1630. High school and transfer students should note that these are not admissions tours and will not include information sessions for applicants. 

Black and Blue Tour with Robert Porter – A distinctive walking tour on the African-American history of the University, with emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Black and Blue tour hopes to contribute to a real understanding of our African American past as we build a better Carolina and work to create a fuller perspective on our University’s history. Our guide, Robert Porter, has over thirty years of experience as a lecturer for UNC’s department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, winning numerous teaching awards. He remains passionate about his interests in history, public history, and African-American history, all of which go back to his grade school days. 
Argyle 3 Friday, SEPTEMBER 15
Argyle 3 Friday, OCTOBER 13

American Indian Center Presents the Native Narrative – Using traditional storytelling, this guided campus tour will give participants an accurate and complete story of the American Indian presence on Carolina’s campus.  Focusing on past, present and future, American Indian staff, alumni, students and community members will recall personal experiences and stories from their time at the University and discuss how they relate to Carolina today.
Argyle 3 Friday, SEPTEMBER 22
Argyle 3 Friday, NOVEMBER 17

Edible Garden and Campus Landscape – At Carolina, natural beauty is as basic as the air we breathe. From McCorkle’s ancient trees to the flowers, vegetables, and herbs dotting the campus, our landscape is an integral part of the Carolina experience. Committed to preserving our ecological heritage, the UNC community is also creating new opportunities to connect with nature right here on campus, such as the Edicble Campus Initiative. A collaborative project between students, staff, and faculty, the ECI envisions creating a campus where students interact with their landscapes in a way that transforms how they think about their role in the food system. Join UNC arborist Tom Bythell and Laura Mindlin of the Edible Campus Initiative to explore the many ways in which Carolina’s environment nourishes both the body and the soul.
 Argyle 3 Friday, SEPTEMBER 29

Thrills n’ Chills Halloween Tour – A hauntingly fun, nighttime walking tour of campus by moonlight as a prelude to Halloween that includes tales of Chapel Hill traditions, mysteries, and even a ghost story (or two). Costumes encouraged!
Argyle 3 Thursday, OCTOBER 26 – 8 PM!

Then & Now Tour – An innovative exploration of the Carolina campus, the Then & Now Tour takes guests on a journey through the past with the help of historical images from North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Join tour designer Maya Brooks for a side-by-side look at Carolina’s history and present—and explore the visual record of the many ways in which UNC has grown, changed, and broken boundaries as the country’s oldest public university!
Argyle 3 Friday, OCTOBER 27 – 3:30 PM!

Ackland Art Museum: Behind the Frame – One of Carolina’s most significant cultural centers, the Ackland Art Museum hosts over a dozen special exhibitions a year. Museum staff will take guests for a special peek behind the scenes of their extensive collection!
Argyle 3 Friday, NOVEMBER 3

Let’s Raise Some Heel: A History of Student Activism at Carolina – The passion of our student body is one of the defining features of UNC-Chapel Hill. From the pacifist movement of the 1930s to the recent renaming of Carolina Hall, our legacy of student activism reflects many of the major national socio-political challenges of the past century. Join University Archivist Nick Graham on a journey through history and discover how student activism has shaped the contemporary Carolina community.
Argyle 3 Friday, DECEMBER 1