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Eng and Chang were born on May 11, 1811, to Chinese parents in the village of Meklong, Siam (now Thailand). At birth, and for the rest of their lives, the twins were connected at the chest by a band of flesh. This exhibit, created by the Surry Arts Council, shares a history of Eng and Chang’s lives.
After a childhood in the village where they were born, the twins were invited to meet the King of Siam when they were 14 years old. Along with their mother and sister, they traveled to the palace in Bangkok. Eng and Chang were invited to join the king on trips around the world, and over the course of their travels became celebrities. They became American citizens in 1839, and in honor of their friends Fred and William Bunker, adopted the surname Bunker.
in 1843, Eng and Chang married sisters Adelaide and Sarah Yates. They would go on on to have 22 children between them. In 1845, Eng and Chang Bunker moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina in search of more fruitful farmlands and better education opportunities for their children. During the Civil War, the twins supported the Confederate cause. Many of their descendants still call the region home. Every year in the last weekend of July, the Bunker family hosts a reunion in Mount Airy.
The exhibit explores their early lives in Thailand up to their later years in North Carolina. Pictures, articles, personal belongings, and informative binders from their descendants’ annual reunions help bring Chang and Eng’s lives to light.
Their graves are located a short drive away from the Surry Arts Council.
Know Before You Go
This exhibit shares the same address as the Andy Griffith museum. However, they share a different entrance. You do not need to enter (or pay) for the Andy Griffith section. Just simply enter the Chang and Eng exhibit by entering through the doors downstairs outside. Please leave a donation in the box.