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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 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.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America

Crossroads exhibit entryway

Crossroads exhibit entryway

On display 3/15 - 4/25/2023

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.


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:

Coverlet with a variety of patterns, possibly dyed with madder root. 



On Display May 8 - August 31, 2023

The Mountain Heritage Center has a remarkable collection of these 19th and early 20th century woven textiles. The process from sheep and flax or cotton plant to a finished product the size of a large blanket is long and arduous. Yet the skill and care involved in making these artifacts resulted in visually striking works of art. Learn about coverlet making before the Civil War where it was a necessity for warmth in homes. Also learn about coverlets and their role in the Craft Revival.

Other MHC Exhibits:

Online Exhibits

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