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This bear near the museum resembles Sequoyah, a brilliant Cherokee who translated the spoken language to writing.
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Closest available address
589 Tsali Boulevard, Cherokee, NC 28719
Open 9:00am-5:00pm all week, in summer museum is open 9:00am-7:00pm. Mon.-Sat.
Best time to visit
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is a historical and cultural museum that focuses on the Cherokee Nation from its origins to current times. The collection includes artifacts, multimedia displays, clothing and historical figure mannequins. The museum is approximately 12,000 square feet, and the facility also includes a research library and gift shop.
The Eastern Cherokee are descended from the Cherokee Nation that lived for many years in the present southeast United States. Most of the tribe was forcibly removed by the US Government and sent west in the 1830s on the Trail of Tears. Some Cherokee avoided deportation by hiding in the mountains and some made their way back home. These Cherokee were eventually recognized as an official tribe by the US Government. The tribe now resides on 57,000 acres of land, bordering Smokey Mountains National Park. The museum opened in 1948 and moved to its current location in 1976. A major renovation was completed in 1998. In addition to its collection, the museum also promotes Cherokee cultural activities such as pottery and dancing.
The museum begins with a ceremonial story lodge. It resembles a small theatre and includes computer animations of tribal myths and legends. Visitors then proceed to the exhibits which are organized in a general chronological manner. The varied displays progress from primitive bands of hunters to early agricultural communities to European contacts and to the present day. The content was diverse enough to hold one's interest and substantive enough to provide a good perspective. Kid’s won’t find it as scintillating, but some of the displays and videos here have a cool factor that they will enjoy. The sizable gift shop is worth a look as well, especially for the authentic Indian artwork. There are additional attractions in Cherokee in the summer and early fall, such as a popular play called Onto These Hills, and that is a good time of year to see the museum which should appeal to a range of tastes.
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