History

The Mountain Heritage Center, founded in 1979, is located on the ground floor of the H. F. Robinson Administration Building at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. 

A regional museum, the MHC documents, studies, and interprets the culture and history of Southern Appalachia. It also provides museum services to western North Carolina. To that end it collects artifacts, builds exhibitions, and showcases traditional skills including craft and music.

The MHC produces books and musical recordings, and enriches the curricula of elementary, secondary, and university students. Major research exhibits have examined the Scotch-Irish, handicraft traditions, Plott Hounds, and mountain trout. The Smithsonian Institution and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress have adopted some of its programming.

The collection of over 10,000 artifacts was started in the early 20th Century by faculty and staff at WCU. It is rich in agricultural implements, logging and woodworking tools, textiles, and transportation equipment. 

The MHC is committed to public history, especially to interpreting current academic studies of Appalachia to the public. Student workers are involved in every aspect of the MHC's work and the MHC is committed to helping them with their career path.

Mountain Heritage Day, a fall festival always held the last Saturday of September, presents traditional mountain culture to tens of thousands of visitors.

 

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