Our exhibitions illustrate mountain societies and the natural world, past and present. Temporary exhibits have been produced around such themes as blacksmithing, Cherokee myths and legends, and southern Appalachian handicrafts. Traveling exhibits look at North Carolina's State Dog, explorer William Bartram, and the tradition of Decoration Day.
The Center maintains three major galleries. Gallery A houses the Center's only permanent exhibit while Galleries B and C house traveling or temporary exhibits. Smaller photographic and thematic displays are exhibited along the wormy chestnut-lined lobby areas.
Migration of the Scotch-Irish People
Gallery BHands in Harmony: Traditional Crafts and Music in AppalachiaJ January 12 - April 1, 2015
The Dearest Spot of All: Western Carolina University's 125th Anniversary
June 12 - January 12, 2015
A Craftsman's Legacy: The Furniture of Jesse Bryson Stalcup
Showcases woodworking tools and hand made furniture, used or made by Jesse Bryson Stalcup (1860-1931) a master carpenter who lived in western North Carolina. Born in Swain County, Jesse grew up as a skilled carpenter. He settled in Macon Count with his wife, Alice Florence Kelly (1862-1948) where Jesse worked as a carpenter, millwright, and Baptist preacher.
Western Carolina University: The Progress of an Idea
Traces Robert Lee Madison's "Cullowhee Idea" from 1889 to the present. Highlights WCU's continuing mission of regional service.
Music at WCU
The exhibit includes a changing section that will highlight various aspects of university life. The first iteration will focus on the rich legacy of formal and informal musical activity at WCU.
Two of our lobby cases feature a Civil War Mystery! They tell the story of a Union army corps badge belonging to Captain George S. Orr of the 77th Infantry Regiment of the NYSV that ended up in a Jackson County flea market in 2010. Become a "history detective" as we trace the badge's journey from New York to North Carolina.
Two other cases feature the Mountain Heritage Award winners for 2014: Davy Arch and the Bethel Rural Community Organization
and three cases feature "Roots and Branches of Appalachian Music:" Musical instruments from the Mountain Heritage Center collections.
Online Exhibits (open in a new window)
- After the War: Conflict and Domestic Change in the NC Mountains
- Craft Revival: Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present
- Horace Kephart: Revealing an Enigma
- MHC Quilts at the Quilt Index
- Nantahala Power & Light
More Online Content at DigitalHeritage.org
Essays, videos, and images on the culture, land, and institutions of the mountains including Horace Kephart, Scotch-Irish Migration to western NC, and Stereotypes in popular culture such as movies
Digital Heritage for teachers
Current Jackson County Public Library
Feb - April 2015 Rural Life Museum, Mars Hill University
Summer 2015 Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center"Horace Kephart in the Great Smoky Mountains" Available "Bartram's Journey: The 1775 Journey of William Bartram to Western North Carolina" Read a description of the original exhibit from 2007, see page 6 of the Reporter pdf. "Decoration Day in the Mountains" Available Read a description of the original exhibit. The traveling exhibit does not include artifacts. "Our State Dog: North Carolina's Plott Hound" Available Read a description of the original exhibit. The traveling exhibit does not include artifacts.