WNC museums

Although the rich history and culture of Western North Carolina is alive and thriving through the hands of our local artisans and performers, there are also numerous museums here preserving and perpetuating the heritage of Southern Appalachia. These buildings each pay homage to the crafts, sounds, and deeply held traditions of these ancient mountains and its people.

Finding joy and exploring a museum

Near the beginning of Katherine Center’s novel What You Wish For (St. Martin’s Press, 2020, 309 pages), school librarian Samantha Casey suffers an attack of epilepsy while driving and runs her car into the side of a 7-Eleven. She suffers bruises and requires stitches for her cuts, but she is chiefly distraught at the return of her epilepsy after so many years.

Cat museum stretches its legs: As visitation grows, museum plans for larger location

Now well into its second year of operation, things are purring along at the American Museum of the House Cat in Sylva, so much so that director Harold Sims is hatching a plan to build a new, bigger home for the cat-honoring attraction. 

Antique toy museum moves into Cowee School

Jim Geary has been collecting toys since he was a boy in 1950. The fascination and hobby that has stuck with him throughout his life all started with a 1911 Rolls Royce model car kit.

The American Museum of The House Cat

It took over 30 years, but Harold Sims can now show the world.

“It’s been very rewarding,” he said. “I wanted to have a cat shelter, I made that come true. I wanted to have a cat museum, and I made that come true. It’s like the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ — ‘if you build it, they will come.’”

Franklin museum a real ‘gem’

At first glance, the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum may seem like a hokey tourist attraction, but visitors willing to give it a closer look will discover the largest inventory of gems in the Southeast.

The Naturalist's Corner: Overwhelmed

There are bucket lists and then there are bucket lists. As parents, the bucket lists we envision for our kids do not necessarily conform to their own bucket list. But this spring break we stood our ground and imposed, gasp, D.C. and the Smithsonian for our annual trip.

Fly fishing museum aims to spur tourism, preserve angling history in Cherokee

coverIt’s been more than 10 years since Alen Baker decided, while recuperating from surgery, to pass the time by writing about what his Trout Unlimited chapter had been up to that year. Those 15 pages turned into a book, which turned into something even bigger — the idea that somebody should take it upon themselves to memorialize the Southern Appalachians’ fly fishing legacy in a museum somewhere.

SEE ALSO: A look inside the museum

A look inside the museum

out insidemuseumStep inside Cherokee’s newest museum, and the scent of freshly cut wood and tranquil lighting will immediately greet you with the knowledge that you’ve made the right choice.

Cherokee fly fishing museum sets opening day, fundraising dinner

fr flyfishingIt’s been two years since Alen Baker, the self-described “instigator” of the effort to create the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians, sent an unsolicited pitch to the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce. But now, the building is renovated and the chamber has moved its offices into part of it. Opening day is slated for May 1, and the museum will hold its first annual fundraising dinner Nov. 1 to gather funds to purchase and display fly-fishing memorabilia from across the region. 

Page 1 of 2
Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.