Museums and Galleries in the Smokies

Museums and Galleries in the SmokiesThe Smoky Mountains are a captivating destination for art and culture enthusiasts, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and rich cultural history. Visitors to this picturesque region have the opportunity to delve into its vibrant artistic scene and historical depth through a variety of museums and galleries. Exploring these cultural gems not only enhances a Smoky Mountain vacation but also provides a deeper understanding of the area’s local heritage and artistry. Join us as we uncover some of the most unique locations in the Smokies that celebrate the history and art of the people who have called this region home for generations.

  1. Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center
    At the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, visitors can immerse themselves in the cultural heritage of East Tennessee. This museum offers a fascinating look into the region’s past, featuring a Native American Collection, including significant archaeological discoveries over 10,000 years old, as well as other Mountain Culture exhibits and various antique modes transportation on display. The center’s exhibits showcase the diverse stories of the Southern Appalachians, providing a thorough view of the area’s historical and cultural development. Through interactive displays, educational programs and guided tours, the Heritage Center plays a crucial role in preserving and sharing the rich history of the Smoky Mountains.Museums and Galleries in the Smokies
  2. The Museum of the Cherokee People, one of the longest-operating tribal museums in the country, offers an in-depth exploration of the rich history of the Cherokee Nation through thoughtfully displayed artifacts, interactive exhibits, and educational programs. Located in Cherokee, NC, visitors can learn about the Cherokee’s unique cultural practices, their resilience, and their enduring presence in the Smoky Mountains. The museum provides a broader context for understanding the intricate tapestry of Smoky Mountain culture, connecting past and present through its carefully curated exhibits.
  3. Oconaluftee Indian Village
    Step back in time at the Oconaluftee Indian Village, a reconstructed Cherokee village that brings history to life. Visitors can explore traditional Cherokee homes, watch cultural demonstrations, and learn about traditional crafts. This immersive experience offers a rare glimpse into the daily lives of the Cherokee people, preserving their traditions and fostering a deeper understanding of their culture. The village’s commitment to education and preservation makes it a must-visit for anyone interested in the heritage of the Smoky Mountains.Museums and Galleries in the Smokies
  4. Little River Railroad Museum
    The Little River Railroad Museum delves into the fascinating world of railroads in the Smokies. Featuring vintage locomotives, historical photographs, and engaging exhibits, this museum highlights the significant impact of rail transportation on the region. The railroad played a crucial role in the development of the Smoky Mountains, forever changing its cultural, economic and physical landscape. Visitors can connect the dots between the railroad’s ethically ambiguous history and the broader narrative of the Smoky Mountains’ mission, gaining a deeper appreciation for both the people who worked the Little River Railroad as well as the immense significance of the park’s creation.
  5. Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Exhibitions
    The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts has a hub of creativity and originality. Known for its rotating exhibitions, creative experiences and renowned workshops, Arrowmont has been nurturing artists and celebrating the fusion of tradition and innovation in the Smoky Mountains for more than a century. Visitors can explore a wide range of artistic mediums and techniques, appreciating the skill and imagination of Appalachian artists. The school’s commitment to fostering artistic growth and community engagement, while preserving vestiges of the past, makes it a cornerstone of the Smoky Mountain arts scene.Museums and Galleries in the Smokies
  6. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
    For a delightful and quirky experience, visit the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. This unexpected gem boasts a vast collection of salt and pepper shakers from around the world, each with its own story and artistic flair. The museum appeals to art enthusiasts with a sense of humor, offering a unique and lighthearted perspective on the history of these everyday objects. It’s a testament to the creativity and diversity of artistic expression that can be found in common household items, making it a fun and memorable stop on any cultural tour of the Smokies.
  7. The Cliff Dwellers Gallery
    Local artists take center stage at The Cliff Dwellers Gallery, where a wide range of artworks are on display. From paintings and sculptures to crafts and textiles, the gallery showcases the talents of over fifty Smoky Mountain artists. The Cliff Dwellers Gallery supports and promotes local art, providing a platform for artists to share their work and connect with the community and visitors, if you’re lucky, your favorite artist might be there busy at work but more than willing to answer some questions! It’s an excellent place to discover unique pieces that capture the spirit and beauty of the Smoky Mountains.Museums and Galleries in the Smokies
  8. Alewine Pottery
    At Alewine Pottery, the tradition of pottery-making comes to life. Visitors can explore handcrafted pieces, each with unique glazes and designs that reflect the skills and creativity of the artisans who, for multiple generations, have been honing their craft at Alewine Pottery. The tactile experience of pottery-making connects visitors to the region’s artistic legacy, highlighting the importance of craftsmanship and tradition. Alewine Pottery offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, inviting visitors to appreciate the beauty and utility of handcrafted ceramics.
  9. Jim Gray Gallery
    The Jim Gray Gallery is renowned for its captivating landscape paintings and wildlife art. Jim Gray’s works beautifully capture the essence of the Smokies, evoking a strong emotional connection to nature. Visitors can explore a collection that reflects the region’s stunning vistas and diverse wildlife, gaining a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds them. The gallery inspires a sense of wonder and reverence for the Smoky Mountains, making it a must-visit for art lovers.
  10. Paul Murray Gallery
    Museums and Galleries in the Smokies
    Step into the Paul Murray Gallery, where art meets storytelling. Murray’s works depict mountain life, changing seasons, and local traditions, evoking a sense of warmth and nostalgia. His paintings tell the stories of the Smoky Mountains and the unique souls who call it home now and in years past, capturing moments of everyday life and the beauty of the natural world. Visitors can immerse themselves in Murray’s evocative art, gaining a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural and natural heritage.
  11. Fowler’s Clay Works
    Fowler’s Clay Works offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of ceramics. Visitors can admire both functional and decorative pottery, each piece showcasing the fusion of craftsmanship and aesthetics. The studio’s dedication to quality and artistic expression is evident in every creation, making it a must-visit for those interested in the art of pottery. Fowler’s Clay Works celebrates the rich tradition of ceramics in the Smoky Mountains, offering a unique and enriching experience.
  12. The Wood Whittlers
    Museums and Galleries in the Smokies
    The Wood Whittlers have been creating “art from nature” for over 75 years, introducing visitors to the intricate art of wood carving for decades. From wildlife carvings to folk art, each piece reflects the skill and dedication of the artists. Wood whittling is a cherished tradition in the Smoky Mountains, and this gallery provides a window into its history and evolution. Visitors can appreciate the fine details and craftsmanship that go into each carving, gaining insight into the cultural significance of this timeless art form.
  13. Buie Pottery
    Buie Pottery celebrates the intersection of art, utility, and tradition. Each piece is uniquely crafted, reflecting the artist’s vision and inspired by the region’s landscape. The pottery combines functionality with artistic beauty, offering pieces that are both practical and decorative. Buie Pottery is a testament to the enduring appeal of handcrafted ceramics, making it a fitting conclusion to our cultural tour of the Smoky Mountains.

From Art to Accommodations

Exploring the diverse museums and galleries of the Smoky Mountains offers a rich and rewarding experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the region’s vibrant arts and culture. From the historical insights at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center to the whimsical charm of the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, there’s something for every art and history enthusiast.

After a day of cultural exploration, retreat to the most luxurious cabin rentals in Pigeon Forge located at Parkside Resort. Our fully equipped kitchens, spacious living areas, firepits, cozy furnishings, and incredible views provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation. Enjoy the convenience of our onsite eatery, two pools, and private 18-hole putt-putt course, all within a great, safe location. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Parkside offers a wide selection of vacation rentals to suit your needs. Experience the best of Smoky Mountain arts, culture, and the ultimate comfort of Parkside Resort.

Museums and Galleries in the Smokies

Call us today at or visit our website to learn more about our amazing Pigeon Forge cabin rentals!