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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 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. 

Cat Take Ye by Ann Miller Woodford

Cat Take Ye by Ann Miller Woodford

Ann Miller Woodford: The Artist as Storyteller

On display  1/18 - 3/4/22

Artwork and stories from aclaimed artist and author Ann Miller Woodford, native of Cherokee County, NC. View a video exhibit created by WCU students of Ann's work.

Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sundays in February, 2:00 - 5:00 pm

Discovering Appalachia

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

2022 Exhibits at the MHC:

Quilts: The Stories They Tell

MHC Fan Quilt


On display 3/14 - 8/26/22

Twenty-Five quilts from the MHC's extensive collection featuring Album, Crazy, and Patchwork quilt styles. Stories of makers, families, and community members as well as local and national patterns, techniques and materials, and the perceptions of quilts will be showcased. View old favorites as well as new acquisitions and quilts that have never been on exhibit in a MHC exhibit.

Away From Home

On display 9/1 - 10/20/22

Beginning in the 1870s, the US government attempted to educate and assimilate American Indians into “civilized” society by placing children—of all ages, from thousands of homes and hundreds of diverse tribes—in distant, residential boarding schools. Many were forcibly taken from their families and communities and stripped of all signs of “Indianness,” even forbidden to speak their own language amongst themselves. Up until the 1930s, students were trained for domestic work and trade in a highly regimented environment. Many children went years without familial contact, and these events had a lasting, generational impact.

EB Cherokee Boarding School 1890


Native Americans responded to the often tragic boarding school experience in complex and nuanced ways. Unintended outcomes, such as a sense of “Pan Indianism” and support networks, grew and flourished on campuses, and advocates demanded reform. Boarding schools were designed to remake American Indians but it was American Indians who changed the schools. After graduation, some students became involved in tribal political office or the formation of civil rights and Native sovereignty organizations. The handful of federal boarding schools remaining today embrace Indigenous heritage, languages, traditions, and culture.

Visitors will explore compelling photographs, artwork, interviews, interactive timelines, and immersive environments, including classroom and dormitory settings. 

Adapted from the permanent exhibition organized by The Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, and touring as part of NEH On the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Other MHC Exhibits:

Online Exhibits

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