Mountain Heritage Center

Mountain Heritage Center

Explore. Connect. Preserve.

Join us at the Mountain Heritage Center and celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of the southern Appalachians. Discover the rich traditions of the mountains, see the Appalachian region from new perspectives, and come away with an enhanced understanding of its land, culture, and people.

Our Mission

The Mountain Heritage Center is a museum that engages WCU and the wider community in the study, preservation and celebration of southern Appalachia’s cultural heritage and history.

  • We CONNECT people with local history and culture.
  • We BUILD BRIDGES between the university and the regional community.
  • We SERVE as a cultural resource for the region.

Museum and Programming

A regional museum, the MHC documents, studies, and interprets the culture and history of Southern Appalachia. It provides museum services to western North Carolina, collecting artifacts, building exhibitions, and showcasing traditional skills including craft and music. The MHC produces books and musical recordings, and enriches the curricula of K-12 and university students.

Major exhibits have examined the Scotch-Irish, handicraft traditions, Plott Hounds, and mountain trout. The Smithsonian Institution and the American Folklife Center have adopted some of its programming. The collection of over 10,000 artifacts was started in the early 20th Century by faculty and staff at WCU. It is rich in agricultural implements, logging and woodworking tools, textiles, and transportation equipment.

The MHC is committed to public history, especially to interpreting current academic studies of Appalachia. Student workers are involved in every aspect of the MHC's work and the our professional staff is committed to helping them with their career path. Download this pdf to see the MHC's impact on the region in 2019.

Mountain Heritage Day

Mountain Heritage Day, a fall festival always held the last Saturday of September, presents traditional mountain culture to tens of thousands of visitors. You'll find Appalachian dance and song, including old-time, gospel, and bluegrass. Explore traditional crafts, demonstrations and participate in competitions and more.