Trip Planner:   USA  /  Tennessee  /  Townsend  /  Museums  /  Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center
Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Townsend
(4.5/5 based on 160+ reviews on the web)
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.
Make Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center part of your personalized Townsend itinerary using our Townsend vacation trip planner.
Create a full Townsend itinerary

Plan your trip to Townsend

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.
  • Although we have visited the area many times, we had never stopped here until our recent trip in October. We spent two hours there! It's well worth the admission price. Very interesting information an...  more »
  • Visited The Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center today. This has been on my list of things to do for a couple of years now. It is a nicely laid out museum of the life of mountain people from years gon...  more »
  • The Heritage Center was very historical and educational. They have original buildings which have been brought to the site from various places in the Smokey Mountains. There is a distillery, a "set-up"...  more »
  • Really nice stop to get educated on area and history. Learn far more here with little to no other visitors than did at cades Cove. Was able to enjoy cades Cove more though because had better understanding of story and history.
  • 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.
  • It has a very interesting life size model vilage you can walk around in.
  • A great place to go for history of the area. I found it to be extremely interesting.
  • great place to visit.