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About Us

A Century of Cherokee Masks exhibit in MHC

A Century of Cherokee Masks exhibit in MHC

Our Mission

The Mountain Heritage Center is a museum that engages WCU and the wider community in the study, preservation and celebration of southern Appalachia’s cultural heritage and history.

  • We CONNECT people with local history and culture.
  • We BUILD BRIDGES between the university and the regional community.
  • We SERVE as a cultural resource for the region.

Museum and Programming

A regional museum, the MHC documents, studies, and interprets the culture and history of Southern Appalachia. It provides museum services to western North Carolina, collects artifacts, builds exhibitions, and showcases traditional skills. The MHC has produced books and musical recordings, and enriches curricula for K-12 and university students.

Major exhibits have examined the Scotch-Irish, handicraft traditions, Plott Hounds, and mountain trout. The Smithsonian Institution and the American Folklife Center 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 and interpreting current studies of Appalachia. Student workers are involved in every aspect of the MHC's work and the our professional staff is committed to helping them with their career path. Download this pdf to see the MHC's impact on the region in 2020-21.

Partnerships across the WCU campus

We are proud of the partnerships developed with our WCU colleagues. These partnerships result in students and classes creating real-world products such as physical and digital exhibits, research endeavors, and educational programs for the MHC and community groups.

Tried Stone Choir at MHD

Tried Stone Choir at MHD

Mountain Heritage Day, is a festival held the last Saturday of September. The MHC helps program the festival which highlights traditional Appalachian dance and music, including old-time, gospel, and bluegrass. Explore traditional crafts, listen to storytellers, and participate in fun competitions!

The MHC has worked with Dr.'s Andrew Denson, Rob Ferguson, and Jessie Swigger from the History Department, members of the Anthropology Department including Dr.'s Ted Coyle, Jane Eastman, and Ben Steere; Dr. Erin Tapley from the Art Department, and members of the Communications Department. 

Partnerships across campus have included Center for Career and Professional Development, Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, Hunter Library, Special and Digital Collections at Hunter Library, and WCU Special Events.

Partnerships with student groups have included History Club and Pride of the Mountains Marching Band.


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