To travel centuries into the past, just leave your car in the parking lot.
Join us at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center to celebrate the cultural heritage of East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains region. Our galleries, educational programs, special events and festivals focus on the history and diversity of culture around Townsend and Tuckaleechee Cove.
We seek to preserve, interpret and share the history and culture of the diverse people who have inhabited the Southern Appalachians and offer exhibitions and programs for educational and cultural enrichment.
The Main Gallery is home to our Native American Collection where you find out what archaeologists discovered about prehistoric life right here in Townsend. In Tuckaleechee Cove, one of the largest archaeological dig projects in Tennessee history uncovered pottery, stone tools and other artifacts that are on display and are over 10,000 years old!
The main gallery also features other Mountain Culture exhibits on Appalachian music and education which are more recent. Vintage cars, trucks, fire engines, cannons and more have been donated to the Heritage Center and are on display throughout the facility.
Sometimes we are loaned items like handcrafted quilts, wartime cannons and other items that were used in everyday mountain living.
In the mountain community of Townsend, Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center is uniquely poised to become the cultural center of the region. Literally located adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Center is quickly becoming a significant destination attraction and civic asset.
Thanks to a healthy community of benefactors and motivated stakeholders, the Heritage Center is equipped with a significant menu of amenities including the galleries, Appalachian Village, Amphitheater, and land. The center’s management, Board of Directors, and volunteers are continually working to modify and grow the on-site experience to provide the richest consumer experience possible. A dynamic master planning process is on the drawing board and is guiding manageable future development.
Bound by its structure as a Non-Profit 501(c)(3), governed by a Board of Directors and managed day-to-day by a staff and volunteers ¬— the Heritage Center will remain true to the spirit and personality of the “Quiet Side of the Smokies” in Townsend. However, the Heritage Center embraces change and our patrons can count on a new learning experience with every visit.