About Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center (GSMHC)


The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3), governed by a Board of Directors and managed day-to-day by a small staff and many loyal volunteers.

Thanks to the vision of a few and the hard work & dedication of many, the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center was able to open to the public on February 6, 2006. We’ve been growing ever since!

The Heritage Museum is first and foremost a museum – A museum dedicated to honoring those early settlers and inhabitants of the Great Smoky Mountain region; including the earliest settlers, the Native Americans.

Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the unique history and rich culture of those that once inhabited and settled the Great Smoky Mountain region. By honoring this mission, we preserve the history of the settlers, residents and Native Americans who inhabited the East Tennessee mountain communities we live in today.

We invite you to experience the rich Appalachian history of East Tennessee for yourself. When you come to visit, you’ll not only have the opportunity to view artifacts of the past, but will also be able to stroll through the ‘Historic Village’ and view the various structures of yesteryear.

Learn more about us

  • Permanent Exhibits
    • Native Americans of East Tennessee – Find out what archaeologists have learned about prehistoric life in Tuckaleechee Cove, from pottery, stone tools. And other artifacts found in one of the largest archaeological dig projects in Tennessee history.
    • East Tennessee Mountain Culture – You’ll see a log cabin made of hand-hewn logs, and learn about one-room schoolhouses and grist mills, while cultivating an appreciation for the resilience and ingenuity of pioneer people of the Smoky Mountains.
    • Historic Village – The Historic Village is home to 13 historic buildings that have been furnished according to the period in which they were built. Some of these buildings were de-constructed, transported to the Heritage Center and then put back together for our guests to enjoy.