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Exhibits & Artifacts

The Mountain Heritage Center's galleries are open. If you need assistance or more information about our social distancing and masking requirements, please send an email or call (828) 227-7129.

Our exhibitions illustrate mountain societies and the natural world, past and present. Temporary exhibits have been produced around themes such as blacksmithing, Cherokee myths and legends, and southern Appalachian handicrafts. Traveling exhibits look at North Carolina's State Dog, explorer William Bartram, Decoration Day traditions, and more.

Gallery Exhibits

The Mountain Heritage Center galleries are at located at Hunter Library 161 (beside Java City) and Hunter Library Second Floor. For more information, call the museum at 828-227-7129. 

Cherokee Basket Weaving

Image courtesy of Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge and Shared Science

Local ecosystems around the world face serious environmental challenges. Many Native communities have found innovative solutions by combining traditional knowledge with modern science. Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science features stories of ecological and cultural restoration from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Tulalip Tribes, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Native Hawaiians. The exhibit tells the stories of these communities, giving visitors examples of how traditional knowledge and Western science provide complimentary solutions to ecological and health challanges. The Cherokee are working with scientists and regional groups to restore river cane in its homelands in the mountains. They are also revitalizing cultural traditions that use cane. On display through 8/22/21


River Cane in Cherokee NC

Rivercane Renaissance

The Mountain Heritage Center’s exhibit River Cane Renaissance highlights the historic uses of river cane by residents of the southern Appalachians. A wide range of river cane artifacts and reproductions are featured, ranging from woven baskets and mats to tools, weapons, and musical instruments. The exhibit also explores the biology behind this type of bamboo—a unique grass--that is native to and grows throughout the Southeastern U. S. Finally, the exhibit showcases efforts, including those made by WCU students and alumn, that are being made to improve river cane habitat and bring back this native species. On display through 11/15/21

MHC River Cane Logos

Sponsored by Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, WCU’s Campus Theme Committee, North Carolina Humanities, Jackson County Arts Council, the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. 





Discovering Appalachia

MHC Fan Quilt


MHC second floor gallery at Hunter Library, M – F 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia is a cultural crossroads that has been visited and inhabited by people from many different cultural backgrounds. Discover talented and hard working people who have shaped this region. Learn about their varied backgrounds and the portions of their culture that they share with others. On display.

Opening later in 2021:

Ann Miller Woodford: The Artist as Storyteller

Artwork from aclaimed artist and author Ann Woodford, native of Cherokee County, NC. On display Fall 2021


Other MHC Exhibits on display:

Jackson County Public Library

WCU's Health and Human Services Building: Early healthcare in western NC

I-26 Visitor Center north of Asheville

Online Exhibits

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