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Exhibits & Artifacts

The Mountain Heritage Center's galleries are open. If you need assistance or more information about our hours, parking, and Covid-19 requirements, please send an email or call 828.227.7129.

Our exhibits interpret mountain life 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.  176 Central Drive, Cullowhee, NC.

History of Western Carolina University:

More than Meets the Eye

On display 11/18/2022 - 3/3/2023

1941 Football game on Hunter Field


Western Carolina University is a remarkable institution, born out of the need to provide qualified teachers to the region. Service and learning are at the heart of what WCU is all about. Visit this exhibit and learn the history of the university from a small high school to a vibrant center of regional pride. See vintage purple attire, learn the history of the Catamount, and meet various students from a variety of backgrounds who came to WCU to learn and thrive. 

The Mountain Heritage Center main gallery is adjacent to Java City,


Discovering Appalachia

Tunis pic of settler


On permanent display.

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. 

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

Future Exhibits at the MHC:

Crossroads: Change in Rural America

On display 3/13 - 4/25/2023

Crossroads exhibit image

Crossroads, coming to WCU in Spring 2023

In 1900, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas, By 2010, less than 18% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes led to growth of America's urban areas. Yet, less than 10% of the U.S. landmass is considered urban.

Many Americans assume that rural communities are endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from outmigration, ailing schools, and overused land. But that perception is far from true in many areas. Many rural Americans work hard to sustain their communities. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future? All Americans benefit from rural America's successes. We can learn great things from listening to those stories. There is much more to the story of rural America!

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.

Other MHC Exhibits:

Online Exhibits

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