Photos courtesy of Mountain Gateway Museum / Terrell Finley
Activities & Interests
Mountain Heritage Center
The Mountain Heritage Center, located on the Western Carolina University campus in Cullowee, North Carolina, showcases the cultural and natural heritage of the southern Appalachians.
A permanent exhibit tells the compelling story of the Scots-Irish migration into the mountains, while other galleries feature traveling exhibits with themes such as blacksmithing traditions, Cherokee myths and legends, the history of an Appalachian watershed, and the southern Appalachian handicraft movement.
Each fall, the Mountain Heritage Center presents Mountain Heritage Day, a combination old-fashioned mountain fair and showcase for authentic Southern Appalachian folk arts. The popular event features demonstrations and exhibitions of traditional mountain crafts and skills such as woodcarving, basket making, blacksmithing, quilting, and weaving. It also plays a vital role in linking generations and helping maintain the authentic folk arts of the mountains.
The Mountain Heritage Center publishes books, produces musical recordings, and hosts an educational series for local public school children and university students. Its collection of over 10,000 artifacts includes woodworking tools, textiles, and early transportation equipment. Some of the Mountain Heritage Center's programming has been used by The Smithsonian Institution and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.
Hours of Operation
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 8 am - 5 pm
Thursday 8 am - 8 pm
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
The Mountain Heritage Center observes a university holiday schedule, so it is advisable to call ahead for information.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
The Mountain Heritage Center is located at the entrance to the campus of Western Carolina University, about 5 miles south of Sylva on NC 107.
Mountain Heritage Center
150 H. F. Robinson Administration Building
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723
- Cullasaja River Gorge (13 miles)
The Cullasaja River Gorge offers a spectacular drive along the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway between Franklin and Highlands, NC.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (14 miles)
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with a gateway in Cherokee, NC, is the most visited National Park in America.
- Scottish Tartans Museum (14 miles)
The Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, NC displays over 500 tartans and serves as a Scottish Heritage Center for the region.