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If you love the Smoky Mountains and the rich history and culture that lives there, then you are in for a real treat. On November 14, 2014, officials with the National Park Service broke ground on a brand new Great Smoky Mountains National Park Heritage Center.
Funded both by private donations and with the help from The Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountains Association, the new facility is projected to cost a total of $4.125 million.
(See Related: 13 Facts About The Smoky Mountains You Won’t Believe)
What Will You Find at the New Great Smoky Mountains National Park Preservation Center?
The new facility will house a total of 418,000 artifacts and 1.3 million archival records, all of which document the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. An impressive number, all the artifacts will be housed inside a climate-controlled storage space inside the facility to protect them for years to come.
The artifacts and records include prehistoric projectile points, logging-era equipment, vintage weapons, clothing and textiles, tools, and other personal items that found have been found inside the historic homesites found within the park.
There is also an extensive collection of records that capture the abundance of songs, stories, and other folklore that the early settlers of the area are known for. This oral history also includes official documents, photographs and records of Southern Appalachian speech.
Families wanting to get a closer look at these artifacts will be able to find them on display at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center next door.
Along with items from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the new center will also house materials from Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River.
For more information on the new Smoky Mountains Preservation Center, feel free to check out the National Park Service’s website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/news/npscpcgroundbreaking.htm.
Where is the Center Located?
The new Preservation Center for the National Park Service will be located next door to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend. Sitting on a total of 1.6 acres, the new facility will be more than capable of housing the large amount of irreplaceable artifacts that park officials plan on keeping there.
For driving directions to the new preservation center, feel free to use the map below.
Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center
Built on a mission to preserve, protect and promote all the unique history and rich culture of the people who once lived inside what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is one of the best educational experience families can visit.
Here, guests will find a ton of ancient artifacts from the Native Americans of East Tennessee, including the pre-historic life in Tuckaleechee Cove, as well as a ton of items from the East Tennessee Mountain Culture and the different modes of transportation used by the early settlers.
Hours of operation for the Smoky Mountain museum are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m.
Admission to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is:
- $6 for Adults 18-59
- $4 for Seniors 60+
- $4 for Children ages 6-17
- FREE for children under the age of 6
Memberships are also available by calling (865) 448-0044.
Do you have a particular time period or way of life from the early settlers that you would like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below!