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Exhibits & Artifacts

The Mountain Heritage Center's galleries are open. If you need assistance or more information about our hours, parking, and Covid-19 requirements, please send an email or call 828.227.7129.

Our exhibits interpret mountain life and the natural world, past and present. Temporary exhibits have been produced around themes such as Blacksmithing, World War I, and Southern Appalachian handicrafts. Traveling exhibits look at North Carolina's State Dog, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual Inc., Decoration Day traditions, and more.

Gallery Exhibits

The Mountain Heritage Center galleries are at located at Hunter Library 161 (beside Java City) and Hunter Library Second Floor.  176 Central Drive, Cullowhee, NC.

A Century of Cherokee Maskmaking

Masks of the Cherokee exhibit info


The Exhibit is closed due to construction. Should reopen Monday, Feb 12.

On Display October 18 - April 19, 2024

What role have masks played in wider efforts to keep cultural identity Cherokee-determined? The upcoming exhibit at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center examines Cherokee cultural self-determination over the last century through one of its most iconic art forms.

If you need more resources: Exhibit Annotated Rescource list

See a student created video tour of the exhibit.

Joshua Adams, Slant-Eyed Giant, 2009, buckeye wood and buffalo fur, 18.5 x 8.75 x 5.5 inches, Collection of the WCU Fine Art Museum, Gift of John Glasser, 2018.006. Image taken by WCU Photography Services.

Discovering Appalachia

Tunis pic of settler


On permanent display in MHC second floor gallery at Hunter Library

Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia is a cultural crossroads that has been visited and inhabited by people from many different cultural backgrounds. Discover talented and hard working people who have shaped this region. Learn about their varied backgrounds and the portions of their culture that they share with others. 

Future Exhibits at the MHC:

Cowee 19: Incarcerated Labor, Memory, and Landscape

Cowee Tunnel late 19th or early 20th century

Cowee Tunnel late 19th or early 20th century. Image courtesy Special Collections, Hunter Library, WCU

Opening Thursday, May 6, 2024

The Cowee 19 were nineteen men who drowned in 1882 building the Cowee train tunnel on the Murphy Branch of the Western North Carolina Railroad in Dillsboro, NC. The state considered their death an accident, but their placement in the convict lease system was intentional. The Cowee 19: Incarcerated Labor, Memory, and Landscape is a student curated exhibit that examines the lives of these individuals trapped by the early Jim Crow judicial system and forced to work and sacrifice for the creation of the New South. 

Other MHC Exhibits:

Online Exhibits

Office of Web Services