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Funding Approved for New Facility in the Great Smoky Mountains

Smoky fog hanging over the Great Smoky MountainsIf you love the Great Smoky Mountains, you’re going to be so excited about the newest addition to the area! The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved funding for an archive facility of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

(See Related: 2013 Sets New Record for Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

The National Park Service Joint Curatorial Collection Facility is set to be built next to the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend. According to local news station WBIR, the facility will house nearly 900,000 unique pieces of information from the Smokies. Of those 900,000 pieces, there will be approximately 422,000 original historical artifacts as well as 450,000 archival records about the national park and Smoky Mountain area.

The records will include:

  • Unique Photos
  • Land records
  • Oral histories
  • Operating records
  • Clothing
  • Farm tools
  • Logging equipment
  • Vintage weapons
  • Andrew Johnson’s presidential papers

This will be a popular location for history fans, because the center will house historical data of families who once lived in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The 1.6 acres of land is currently owned by the Heritage Center, but will be donated to the National Park Service before construction can begin. The facility will be owned by the National Park Service. Plans should be drawn by May and construction could begin as early as this summer (Summer 2014).

Once the facility is built, other federal parks will have access to its use. The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River will all house artifacts and records in the facility because their current storage facilities do not meet National Park Service standards. The new facility will meet standards to keep artifacts and records physically safe, as well as safe from environmental issues like mold and fire.

The total funding for the archive totals at $4.3 million. With $2 million coming from federal money (National Park Service) and $2.3 million from private donations.

When you’re planning a vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains, take a look at all of the premier accommodations throughout the area on our ‘Where to Stay’ page. Whether you want to stay in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville, there’s a perfect place for everyone to experience the Smoky Mountains.