Museum of the Cherokee Indian
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is in Cherokee,
North Carolina. We strongly recommend you go there. Cherokee is directly across the Great
Mountains from Gatlinburg. And if you want to learn about the Cherokees and their culture, this is the best place to go.
Click here for admission information.
In the meantime, let us tell you a bit about the museum. The institution is older than you might think; it was first opened in a log cabin in 1948. A few years ago, it underwent a major upgrade and today has some really cool, high-tech exhibits. When you first get in you will find yourself in a small theater with a wide screen and stereo sound that tells you some of the ancient Cherokee legends. Believe me when I say that it will hold your attention. I sat through it twice.
You then move onto the exhibits, which start 11,000 years ago and work their way to the present time. There’s a lot of stuff behind glass, and it’s kind of overwhelming. But everything here is authentic and certainly belongs in a museum. You will find things such as pottery, tools, weapons, and an authentic dugout canoe. The items on display were chosen because of what they specifically demonstrate about Cherokee culture.
The diorama of a Cherokee village
Obviously the trip to the museum isn’t worth it if you don’t learn something about the story of the Cherokees, but you should learn quite a bit here. In hindsight, these are the exhibits we liked the best:
* A wonderful diorama of a Cherokee village
* A hologram of an old Cherokee man beside a campfire telling stories about tribal history
There is a lot of information about the history and culture of other Native American tribes here as well
After you have had your fill of the museum, don’t forget to stop in at the gift shop. This is probably the best place in the world to buy Cherokee-related things. You will find everything from baskets and beadwork made by Cherokees to books about the Cherokees that target younger audiences.
Here is a link to the museum’s official web site. If you are a teacher, you might want to check out some of their educational programs, most of which are scheduled in the summer.