Great Smoky Mountains 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 Mountains Heritage Center Reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • 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 »
  • The Heritage Center was well worth the visit. The inside buildings were well layer out and very interesting, and the outside buildings even better! We loved it! They also have a very nice gift shop an...  more »
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  • 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.
  • The Great Smokey Mountains Heritage Center (GSMHC) serves multiple functions for East Tennessee and Great Smokey Mountains National Park (GSMNP) area. It is a museum dedicated to honoring those early settlers and inhabitants of the Great Smoky Mountain region; including the earliest settlers, the Native Americans. It is a destination for area schools for their field trips. A dedicated group of volunteers make each student’s visit a real day to remember. It is also a community center for concerts and academic presentations for Townsend. It seems to be a great source of pride for the entire area.
  • It gives basic information about the local Indian culture and also about how early settlers.
  • Heritage Center is wonderful and full of local information, and displays of local talent and history of the area. Do visit all the buildings, quite a history lesson to visualize. Currently having the fall concert series with music at 7pm on Friday nights. Great groups, all different. Come early and bring a chair.
  • Great family venue for all ages.

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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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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 8 days in Townsend, Sevierville & Great Smoky Mountains National Park 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 8 days in Townsend, Sevierville & Great Smoky Mountains National Park 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 1 day in Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Townsend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy
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