A perfect place to begin exploration of Cherokee heritage and traditions is the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina. Visitors are greeted at the entrance by a 20-foot hand-carved statue of Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet.
An interpretive site for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, this state-of-the-art facility traces the story of the Cherokee from the earliest inhabitants of the area 11,000 years ago to the present. An extensive exhibit of artifacts and photos is enhanced with computer generated holograms and other imagery, sound, and special effects that leave a lasting and haunting impression on the visitor.
The museum gift shop is rich in Cherokee tradition. Locally created baskets, pottery, wood carvings, decorated gourds and beadwork are among the art available for sale in the shop. Books on Cherokee history, culture, language, and genealogy line the shelves, along with audio CDs and tapes by local musicians and storytellers.
On the second Saturday in June, the museum sponsors the “Cherokee Voices Festival” which features craft demonstrations, storytelling, and performances of traditional music and dance. It also offers classes and seminars, including those taught by Cherokee master artists to preserve Cherokee traditions, such as the language, music, and crafts. The Museum also sponsors the Southeast Tribes Festival the third weekend in September.
Hours of Operation
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is open daily, year-round, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Hours are 9 am to 5 pm, with extended evening hours (Monday -Saturday) from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-14, and free for children 5 and under.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is located at the intersection of Highway 441 and Drama Road in the town of Cherokee.