The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center offers guests unique insights into the different people and civilizations that have called this area home. The museum serves as both a vital educational tool and a reminder of the challenges faced by our predecessors.
Located on a three-acre site in Townsend—less than a mile from the Blount County entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and just a few miles from our cabins in Wears Valley, TN—the center consists of a 17,000-square-foot main building, a collection of historic out buildings and an outdoor amphitheater.
The self-guided tour utilizes both artifacts and interactive computers to illustrate different aspects of life for both Native American residents and white settlers. A partially reconstructed cabin, along with genuine articles once owned by early settlers, help illustrate the more recent history of Cades Cove and other communities that were eventually absorbed into the national park.
The grounds behind the main building showcase a number of preserved structures, including a log home, a setoff house from the Little River Lumber Company and the Montvale Station stage stop, which dates back to 1836. Visitors are allowed to step inside the different buildings to get an up-close look at pioneer lifestyles.