Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Townsend

4.5
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 17000sqft 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.).HistoryThe Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center was conceptualized in the early 2000s by local preservationist and antique collector Richard Way. Early organizational efforts were led by Bob Patterson and several Townsend-area civic organizations. The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center Guild hosted fundraisers for the proposed center in 2004 and 2005. Ground for the new center was broken in the Summer of 2004. The center officially opened February 12, 2006.
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Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
194 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This park is great to drive to, great views of the mountains and river running alongside the road. Cades Cove drive is busy, but worth seeing and has places to spot and hike around.  more »
  • I liked the mix of pre-park history inside as well as the great collection of buildings outside. Although, if there was a map of the buildings I missed it and it would have been helpful because I did ...  more »
  • I enjoyed this site. A lot in a small area. They have several houses, a section about the national park, transportation area and a small museum about the Indians that use to inhabit the area. All of t...  more »
Google
  • Nice museum with a courteous and knowledgeable staff and a wealth of information available about the Smokies. I give 4 stars rather than 5 because I like the gift shop at the Little River Railroad/Lumber Museum better for local selection. That said, this place is well worth your time and very valuable if you're staying in the area for a few days or more:)
  • This is the best place to visit! We bring visitors here all the time. They are blown away by the history and the presentation of that history. If you want the Smoky Mountain experience but in an authentic way, this is the place.
  • Music of the Mountains was both entertaining and educational. The amphitheater was filled with music originating from Scotland and Ireland. The evening presentation was enjoyed by all.
  • Went with my daughter's 2nd grade class and we made so many great memories and learned a lot. We made our own pottery and learned so much history. We plan on returning soon to explore and experience the entire place.
  • What a neat place! It was interesting to see how different cultures evolved in the area. Nice clean bathrooms for a quick pit stop. Nice gift shop. Pleasant employees.

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Where to stay in Townsend

You'll find limited accommodation options in the tiny town of Townsend. You have the choice of a few privately owned bed and breakfasts, which offer a good selection of amenities including fitness facilities, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, in-room fireplaces, steam showers, and hot tubs. For a more outdoorsy experience of the Great Smoky Mountains, research the area's tent and trailer campgrounds; many provide hookups for both cable TV and high-speed Internet.
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16 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 60 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: January, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, outdoors, relaxing, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, outdoors, relaxing, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 18 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA November, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Madison & Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, kids, popular PREFERENCES: December, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, kids, popular PREFERENCES: November, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced
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