The Hickory Museum's collection concentrates in the area of American art. The Museum holds approximately 1,500 objects in the Collection.
Notable holdings of Hudson River School artists include Cole, Haseltine, Samuel Colman, Jr., Durand, Bricher, Hart, Whittredge, , Smillie, Kensett, McIlhenney, and Herman Geyer. Many North Carolina artists are represented in the collection, including Romare Bearden.
Additionally, Southern Contemporary Folk Art is well represented, with note than 250 pieces of Southern regional self-taught art. The American Art Pottery and Studio Art Glass collection includes examples produced by Rookwood, Roseville, Tiffany, Weller, and Van Briggle.