Today, your inner eight-year-old rediscovers the pure joy of learning.
Welcome to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, an award-wining experience that tells the story of the Cherokee people over thousands of years using artifacts, artwork, computer graphics, and interactive features. Van Romans, of Disney Imagineering, has called it “a model for museums.” The Museum is open year-round and is tailor made for families seeking a fun way to learn about the Cherokee people, their home, and their beautiful stories. As you enter, you quickly see why Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, named it “one of the top ten native sites east of the Mississippi” in Cowboys & Indians magazine.
And why the Museum received USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice award in 2014.
There’s plenty of bang for the buck here as there are not one but two main exhibits for you to choose from: “Story of teh Cherokees: 13,000 Years,” and “Emissaries of Peace: 1862 Cherokee & British Delegations.” Being someone who like to begin at the beginning, you move toward the story Lodge first to take in “The Cherokee Story” and its fascinating tale fo creation. You hear of the rave, the owl, the buzzard, the water beetle, and the water spider.
You follow a trail through time as told through stories of a culture older than the Incan, Mayan, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian.
This museum is exceedingly thorough, visually stimulating, and not at all dry. There are the ancient rituals and lifestyle of Paleo Indians and the development of tools by “knapping” stones, along with he origins of the Green Corn Festivals. You can also take in the Cherokee story of the beginnings of both disease and medicine, as told by an ancient medicine man speaking to you through the modern technology of a hologram.
You discover the “Bat Creek Stone,” a mysterious, inscribed stone found in a Cherokee mound in Tennessee, the origins of which may never be known.
There are Cherokee baskets, pottery, spears, and muskets alongside documents, pictures, books, and replicas.
You see and hear the syllabary, the Cherokee writing system invented by a man named Sequoyah
You’re introduced to the Cherokee Seven Clans, the Chamber of Dissenting Voices, and the butterbean game. And then it’s on to the “Trail of Tears.” Though no museum can adequately express the hardship, suffering, and human triumph of the Cherokee people, this comes a close as any. You’re moved to the core.
While you’re here, you’ll meet the Cherokee Friends, adorned in eighteenth-century clothing, available to demonstrate moccasin making and atlatl throwing, and to speak with you or answer any questions you may have. They can make fire, play the “chunkey” game, lead traditional dances, carve masks, and more.
The Museum also offers a more in-depth tour for groups who reserve the “Cherokee Experience.” Cultural immersion includes food, hands-on crafts, storytelling, dance, and more, specially designed for you group’s schedule and budget. The Museum store even allows you to take a bit of the experience home. And don’t forget the Cherokee Voices Festival, happening on the second Saturday during June. It’s sponsored by the North Caroline Arts Council, and is free and open to the public with more than twenty-five arts demonstrators, traditional dance groups, music, storytelling, food, and more.
In fact, the second Saturday of every month offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in Cherokee culture at “Cherokee Heritage Days.” Make Cherokee stamped pottery, participate in dances, hear stories, and try Cherokee food, all free of charge and, like the Voices Festival, generously sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council.