Fascinating history can be found at a variety of museums and historic sites in Asheville and the many small towns of the western North Carolina mountains. Learn about our Appalachian natural and cultural history, including the history of the Cherokee Indians. Discover why our area is so rich in art and music.

Best Museums & Historic Sites near Asheville

Asheville Art Museum

Explore an outstanding collection of American art of the 20th and 21st centuries and discover the richness of Western North Carolina’s unique artistic history at the Asheville Art Museum. … read more

Explore an outstanding collection of American art of the 20th and 21st centuries and discover the richness of Western North Carolina’s unique artistic history at the Asheville Art Museum. Established by artists and incorporated in 1948, the museum is committed to being a vital force in community and individual development and providing lifelong opportunities for education and enrichment…

Moogseum, Asheville

The Moogseum celebrates the life, work, and legacy of synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog, who lived in Asheville for over 25 years. Find a variety of experiential exhibits, interactive touch screens,… read more

The Moogseum celebrates the life, work, and legacy of synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog, who lived in Asheville for over 25 years. Find a variety of experiential exhibits, interactive touch screens, play a synthesizer, and more. Closed for construction January 11-31, 2022.

Grovewood Village

Discover a hidden gem rich with art and history adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn. This site is home to Grovewood Gallery, an outdoor sculpture garden, two museums, and Eldr restaurant. 111… read more

Discover a hidden gem rich with art and history adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn. This site is home to Grovewood Gallery, an outdoor sculpture garden, two museums, and Eldr restaurant. 111 Grovewood Rd. Free on-site parking.

 

Henry River Village

Take a tour of this ghost town near Morganton that is coming back to life with tours, events, paranormal experiences and more. Film location for The Hunger Games, District 12.

Take a tour of this ghost town near Morganton that is coming back to life with tours, events, paranormal experiences and more. Film location for The Hunger Games, District 12.

Mingus Mill & Smokemont Church

See two historic structures within a few miles of each other in the Great Smoky Mountains, both located near the North Carolina entrance on Newfound Gap Road / US 441 near Cherokee.

See two historic structures within a few miles of each other in the Great Smoky Mountains, both located near the North Carolina entrance on Newfound Gap Road / US 441 near Cherokee.

Veteran's History Museum of the Carolinas

A fascinating tour of US history through the eyes of Carolina veterans. The museum covers “modern” wars from World War I through Afghanistan, including the Cold War. Learn intriguing stories of… read more

A fascinating tour of US history through the eyes of Carolina veterans. The museum covers “modern” wars from World War I through Afghanistan, including the Cold War. Learn intriguing stories of those who served and see one-of-a-kind artifacts, uniforms, weaponry, original newspapers, and more. Open Wed-Sunday, March-December. Free admission.

Original Mast General Store

See the original location of the historic Mast General Store near Banner Elk in small picturesque community of Valle Crucis. Take a photo tour.

See the original location of the historic Mast General Store near Banner Elk in small picturesque community of Valle Crucis. Take a photo tour.

Judaculla Rock

See petroglyphs created by Cherokee Indians 1,500 years ago on a boulder near Sylva and Western Carolina University. The small outdoor park is open every day.

See petroglyphs created by Cherokee Indians 1,500 years ago on a boulder near Sylva and Western Carolina University. The small outdoor park is open every day.

Carson House Museum, Marion

Tour one of the most interesting house museums in the state, dating back to 1793, with a big collection covering 200+ years on three floors. 

Tour one of the most interesting house museums in the state, dating back to 1793, with a big collection covering 200+ years on three floors. 

Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum

Named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), see a big variety of 70 vehicles representing decades of history. Located in Forest City and Rutherford County… read more

Named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), see a big variety of 70 vehicles representing decades of history. Located in Forest City and Rutherford County.

Shelton House, Waynesville

This grand, historic home built in 1875 is home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, with every room packed with craft, art and furnishings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Open May-… read more

This grand, historic home built in 1875 is home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, with every room packed with craft, art and furnishings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Open May-October.

American Museum of the House Cat

See a fascinating collection of 10,000+ cat-related curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques, collected by "CatMan2" for the past 20 years. One of the few museums in the country… read more

See a fascinating collection of 10,000+ cat-related curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques, collected by "CatMan2" for the past 20 years. One of the few museums in the country dedicated to felines. Near Dillsboro.

Swain County Heritage Museum

Located on the second floor of the historic courthouse in Bryson City, see photos, exhibits and video about the early settlers in the Great Smoky Mountains, including a restored log cabin porch.… read more

Located on the second floor of the historic courthouse in Bryson City, see photos, exhibits and video about the early settlers in the Great Smoky Mountains, including a restored log cabin porch. Free admission.

History Museum of Burke County

A must-stop in downtown Morganton! Take a free one-hour guided tour through a maze of rooms on two floors, packed with many thousands of fascinating items. Each room has a theme (especially love… read more

A must-stop in downtown Morganton! Take a free one-hour guided tour through a maze of rooms on two floors, packed with many thousands of fascinating items. Each room has a theme (especially love the vintage beauty parlor and music rooms) that makes your journey through time lots of fun. Open Tues-Fri 10 AM-4 PM and Sat 10 AM-2 PM. 201 West Meeting Street.

Bechtler House & Gold Mint Site

In 1832, Christopher Bechtler minted the America's first one-dollar gold coin in Rutherfordton, 17 years before the U.S. Mint. During the mid-1800s, the Bechtlers minted more than $2.24 million in… read more

In 1832, Christopher Bechtler minted the America's first one-dollar gold coin in Rutherfordton, 17 years before the U.S. Mint. During the mid-1800s, the Bechtlers minted more than $2.24 million in one dollar gold coins. Two sites in town tell the story in Rutherford County.

Thomas Wolfe Memorial

This is the novelist's boyhood home and setting for "Look Homeward, Angel." Tour the fascinating, rambling house located in downtown Asheville. 52 N. Market Street.

This is the novelist's boyhood home and setting for "Look Homeward, Angel." Tour the fascinating, rambling house located in downtown Asheville. 52 N. Market Street.

Asheville Museum of Science

Explore the rich treasures of the earth at this "mini-Smithsonian of gems" in downtown Asheville. Exhibits cover volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics and general geologic processes. 44 Patton… read more

Explore the rich treasures of the earth at this "mini-Smithsonian of gems" in downtown Asheville. Exhibits cover volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics and general geologic processes. 44 Patton Avenue.

The Learning Center at PARI

This former NASA campus in Pisgah National Forest is now a fascinating space and science center open for camps, events and occasional tours. See exhibit galleries, a gem and meteorite collection,… read more

This former NASA campus in Pisgah National Forest is now a fascinating space and science center open for camps, events and occasional tours. See exhibit galleries, a gem and meteorite collection, hands-on research and star gazing nights. Previously called Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute. 

Mountain Farm Museum, Oconaluftee Visitor Center & Mingus Mill

Located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, see historic farm buildings in an open-air museum and get plenty of great information from rangers. Nearby you can… read more

Located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, see historic farm buildings in an open-air museum and get plenty of great information from rangers. Nearby you can explore Mingus Mill, a historic grist mill dating from 1886.

Emerald Village & Mining Museum

A fascinating collection of gem, mining and historical exhibits, including an underground mine tour. Pan for gold and minerals. Located near Little Switzerland, a few miles from the Blue Ridge… read more

A fascinating collection of gem, mining and historical exhibits, including an underground mine tour. Pan for gold and minerals. Located near Little Switzerland, a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Billy Graham Museum at The Cove

Take a free one-hour guided tour at the Billy Graham Conference Center, The Cove, located in Asheville. Tour includes the Chapel and exhibit on Graham's life. 

Take a free one-hour guided tour at the Billy Graham Conference Center, The Cove, located in Asheville. Tour includes the Chapel and exhibit on Graham's life. 

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center ​

Tucked away in small village near Fontana Lake and Nantahala River is an amazing gallery that showcases the work of 180+ area artists and hosts a great summer concert series. Many artist studios… read more

Tucked away in small village near Fontana Lake and Nantahala River is an amazing gallery that showcases the work of 180+ area artists and hosts a great summer concert series. Many artist studios nearby.

Swannanoa Valley Museum

This local history museum is packed with interesting historical exhibits in downtown Black Mountain. Learn about the social, cultural and natural history of the Swannanoa Valley in Buncombe County… read more

This local history museum is packed with interesting historical exhibits in downtown Black Mountain. Learn about the social, cultural and natural history of the Swannanoa Valley in Buncombe County with a rotating series of interesting exhibits. Or, take one of their guided hikes.

Vance Birthplace State Historic Site

This pioneer farmstead about 12 miles north of downtown Asheville features the birthplace of Zebulon Baird Vance. Tour the five-room log house and its outbuildings are furnished to evoke the… read more

This pioneer farmstead about 12 miles north of downtown Asheville features the birthplace of Zebulon Baird Vance. Tour the five-room log house and its outbuildings are furnished to evoke the period from 1795-1840.

Mountain Gateway Museum

The westernmost branch of the NC Museum of History. Tour historic buildings and learn about the lifestyle and history of the earliest inhabitants of the mountains to the those of the twentieth… read more

The westernmost branch of the NC Museum of History. Tour historic buildings and learn about the lifestyle and history of the earliest inhabitants of the mountains to the those of the twentieth century. Located in Old Fort.

Museum of the Cherokee

Discover the story of the Cherokee people in this impressive museum that sets the scene for the Cherokee Heritage Trails. The Cherokee community presents its perspective on its own history and… read more

Discover the story of the Cherokee people in this impressive museum that sets the scene for the Cherokee Heritage Trails. The Cherokee community presents its perspective on its own history and culture.

Western NC Nature Center

Learn about the area's natural resources, see 60+ animals in their native habitats including red pandas and red wolves. Explore many exhibits on this 42-acre wildlife park in the city of Asheville… read more

Learn about the area's natural resources, see 60+ animals in their native habitats including red pandas and red wolves. Explore many exhibits on this 42-acre wildlife park in the city of Asheville. Open daily.

Museum of North Carolina Minerals

Located at Milepost 331 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, this free museum features treasures found around the state and the local Spruce Pine Mining District through interactive… read more

Located at Milepost 331 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, this free museum features treasures found around the state and the local Spruce Pine Mining District through interactive displays on a wide variety of minerals and gems.

Orchard at Altapass

This 101-year old apple orchard turned Appalachian Cultural Center celebrates the people, music, art and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. Shop for local mountain art, jams, jellies,… read more

This 101-year old apple orchard turned Appalachian Cultural Center celebrates the people, music, art and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. Shop for local mountain art, jams, jellies, sauces, sweets, gifts and more. Listen to music and pick up your apples!

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

This fascinating National Park Service site honors the accomplishments of Carl Sandburg and wife Lilian. Tour their home with all original furnishings, visit the goat farm and hike trails at… read more

This fascinating National Park Service site honors the accomplishments of Carl Sandburg and wife Lilian. Tour their home with all original furnishings, visit the goat farm and hike trails at Connemara. Many programs. Located in Flat Rock, just south of Hendersonville.

Oconaluftee Indian Village

This living history outdoor village portrays eighteenth-century Cherokee life on the mountainside above the town. Interact with villagers as they hull canoes, make pottery and masks, weave baskets… read more

This living history outdoor village portrays eighteenth-century Cherokee life on the mountainside above the town. Interact with villagers as they hull canoes, make pottery and masks, weave baskets and beadwork, dance and participate in their daily activities. Open late April through early November.

Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum at Grovewood

If you are a car buff, this collection of 20 antique automobiles will delight. Located near downtown Asheville in Grovewood Village. Open April-December. Free.

If you are a car buff, this collection of 20 antique automobiles will delight. Located near downtown Asheville in Grovewood Village. Open April-December. Free.

Western North Carolina Air Museum

See award-winning restored, antique replica and vintage airplanes at the Hendersonville Airport. Take a close-up look to airplanes and talk to people who love them.

See award-winning restored, antique replica and vintage airplanes at the Hendersonville Airport. Take a close-up look to airplanes and talk to people who love them.

Asheville Museum of History

Explore the history of western North Carolina in the c1840 Smith-McDowell House—one of Asheville’s oldest. Asheville Museum of History features permanent and changing exhibits and grounds designed… read more

Explore the history of western North Carolina in the c1840 Smith-McDowell House—one of Asheville’s oldest. Asheville Museum of History features permanent and changing exhibits and grounds designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers.

Allison-Deaver House

Located in Brevard, this is the oldest frame house in western NC (dating back to 1815). Tour the home and beautiful grounds mid-May through mid-October on Saturdays 10 AM-4 PM and Sundays 1-4 PM.… read more

Located in Brevard, this is the oldest frame house in western NC (dating back to 1815). Tour the home and beautiful grounds mid-May through mid-October on Saturdays 10 AM-4 PM and Sundays 1-4 PM. Operated by the Transylvania County Historical Society. 2753 Asheville Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC. 

Wheels Through Time Museum

See hundreds of classic motorcycles and automobiles in Maggie Valley in one of best transportation museums in the country. This massive collection includes more than 300 of America's rarest and… read more

See hundreds of classic motorcycles and automobiles in Maggie Valley in one of best transportation museums in the country. This massive collection includes more than 300 of America's rarest and most historic classic motorcycles.

Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

Through exhibits and videos, learn about past fly fishing legends, the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, regional fishing waters and the… read more

Through exhibits and videos, learn about past fly fishing legends, the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, regional fishing waters and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast. Open Mon-Sat. Free admission. Check out their Facebook page for hours and updates. 117 Island St., Bryson City, NC 28713 on the Aquarium Campus

All Souls Cathedral

Tour this beautiful church in Biltmore Village, built by Biltmore House owner George Vanderbilt in 1896. The sanctuary is open Monday-Friday, 9 AM-4 PM. From April-December, volunteer docents… read more

Tour this beautiful church in Biltmore Village, built by Biltmore House owner George Vanderbilt in 1896. The sanctuary is open Monday-Friday, 9 AM-4 PM. From April-December, volunteer docents answer questions and provide historical information from 1-4 PM. Free, but donations appreciated.

Biltmore

Touring America’s Largest Home is easily the number one indoor attraction in Western North Carolina. Experience the beauty of Biltmore House and its century-old gardens where the Vanderbilt family… read more

Touring America’s Largest Home is easily the number one indoor attraction in Western North Carolina. Experience the beauty of Biltmore House and its century-old gardens where the Vanderbilt family once strolled. Come see why George Vanderbilt chose Asheville as the site for his famous estate. Explore Biltmore's 8,000-acre Blue Ridge Mountain backyard, taste award-winning wines, dine, and shop…

Basilica of St. Lawrence

See one of Asheville's architectural treasures and spiritual anchors with the largest freestanding elliptical dome in the country.

See one of Asheville's architectural treasures and spiritual anchors with the largest freestanding elliptical dome in the country.

Elk in Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains

Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.… read more

Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.

Riverside Cemetery

For a fascinating stroll through history, head to this sprawling cemetery near downtown Asheville, with 87 acres of rolling hills and flower gardens. The cemetery dates to 1885 and holds more than… read more

For a fascinating stroll through history, head to this sprawling cemetery near downtown Asheville, with 87 acres of rolling hills and flower gardens. The cemetery dates to 1885 and holds more than 13,000 burials and 9,000 monuments. It is the burial place of noted authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sidney Porter, better known as O. Henry.

Cradle of Forestry

Travel back in time with historic cabins, crafters, old logging equipment, guided tours, movies, food and shopping. Home of the first forestry school (opened in 1898) in America. In Pisgah… read more

Travel back in time with historic cabins, crafters, old logging equipment, guided tours, movies, food and shopping. Home of the first forestry school (opened in 1898) in America. In Pisgah National Forest. Open mid-April through October.

Asheville Urban Trail

(1.7-mile loop, easy) This outdoors museum is a self-guided walking tour on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville, leading to 30 sculptures that depict local history.

(1.7-mile loop, easy) This outdoors museum is a self-guided walking tour on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville, leading to 30 sculptures that depict local history.

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