Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Townsend

#7 of 28 in Things to do in Townsend
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is a private non-profit museum located in Townsend, Tennessee, United States, near the city's entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its mission is to preserve the heritage and culture of the inhabitants of the Great Smoky Mountains, including both the region's Native American inhabitants and the pioneers and residents of the region's Appalachian communities. The center was organized in the early 2000s, and officially opened in February 2006.

The center houses over 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) of indoor and outdoor exhibits. The outdoor area includes several structures from around the region, including a log cabin, two cantilever barns, an AME Zion chapel, a logging town "setoff" house, a sawmill, and a still once operated by a local moonshiner. The indoor gallery displays tools, furniture and musical instruments used in the mountain region, as well as a sizable collection of Cherokee and other Native American artifacts, some dating to the Archaic period (c. 8000–2000 B.C.).

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239 reviews
  • In the 24 years of our traveling to PG we have always enjoyed historical sights one of the being Cades Cove. Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on the 21st and my wife Karen's soon to be...  more »
  • Great learning experience! Self guided tour first you get to learn about Townsend area old days and after you get to tour buildings  more »
  • Posting this a little late but a great place I have no other words to say then I look back to simpler times worst times better times and blessed times. Before we had to make a America great because it was great and before we can because we had to... Before a single word could ever dictate the fate held in the palm of the hand of the great nation we have become, sadly I wonder what or beloved fore-fathers would have to say at what they pioneer has developed into. Would they cry laugh sigh or bow? God bless and keep the United States strong and safe less we forget and slip into those easy mistakes of the past.
  • From the road the Heritage center sits a ways back, so it's hard to tell all that awaits you. The museum is extensive and much more than I thought it would be. There are many out buildings that give a good feel for life in the area in the past, and even a few surprises. We also enjoyed the transportation museum. Well done and worth visiting.

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