We’re hosting Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center for our February Pint Night (#pintsforapurpose) The Heritage Center, located in Townsend, has as it’s mission to preserve, protect and promote the unique history and rich culture of those that inhabited Great Smoky Mountain region. In doing this, they preserve the history of the residents and Native Americans who inhabited the East Tennessee mountain communities.
I’ve asked Don Alexander, GSM Heritage Center’s Marketing Director to answer a few questions as we head to Pint Night, sponsored by Patagonia.
1) LRTC– How long has the Heritage Center been in Townsend?
GSMHC– We opened our 17,000 sq ft indoor facility including two museum galleries,, 100 seat indoor auditorium and our an outdoor Historic Village and 500 seat outdoor amphitheater in February 2006
2) LRTC- Tell us what GSMHC program best shows what you’re all about. Or what is the best way to experience the Center?
GSMHC- There are many ways the over 1 /4 million visitors, since we opened in 2006, have experienced the Heritage Center. Our Sunset Music Series during warm weather attracts outstanding musicians and plays to an average of 350 – 400 guests on Friday nights. We have hosted festivals including our well known Blue Ribbon Country Fair, Winter Heritage Festival, Woodcarvers Festival, Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival, Quilt festival, Native American Flute Festival, Storytelling Festival an several more unique special events throughout the year.
The best way to experience the GSM Heritage Center is to spend an hour or two exploring our Museum galleries and Historic Village and then be entertained at an evening concert or participate in one of our many festivals or events.
3) LRTC- What school age kids program is the local favorite?
GSMHC- In 2014, we introduced our Jr. Docent program which is free for children with admission to the Museum. Participating children will receive a Jr. Docent booklet with questions that can be answered as they tour our Museum galleries and Historic Village. When the Jr Docent book is completed, children receive a Jr. Docent certificate and sticker.
4) LRTC- Do you all have many local schools coming up to visit?
GSMHC- For many years we have offered docent led school organized field trips and we have had almost 50,000 school students from schools throughout East Tennessee participate in our curriculum based field trips. In 2014 we hosted over 7,000 students.
5) LRTC- Are there any ways for volunteers to help out at the Center?
GSMHC- Yes, we would not be able to handle all of the special events or programs we offer throughout the year if were not for our volunteers. We are always looking to recruit new volunteers to be Museum Docents or work during our concerts or special events/ festivals or in our Museum Store. Anyone who is interested can call us 865-448-0044 for more information.
6) LRTC- Do you all have historical artifacts donated by local families?
GSMHC- Yes, we proudly showcase artifacts donated by local families and the Great Smoky Mountains nation Park as well as artifacts on loan from the McClung Museum, East Tennessee Historical Society and many others. If anyone is interested in donation local artifacts that depict our rich East Tennessee cultural heritage from the 1930’sor earlier, please contact our Museum Curator at 865-448-0044.
7) LRTC- What would you like to tell our readers that I haven’t asked you?
GSMHC- We welcome the chance to introduce you to the rich cultural heritage of our area in a family friendly environment that is unlike any other venue in our region. The Heritage Center & Museum is open year round and we also conduct tours to Cades Cove with expert guides from April through November with our Cades Cove Tour educational touring vehicles.
We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center and recommend you get up to see them next opportunity you have. In the mean time…plan on coming out Thursday February 26th from 5-9pm and support them on Pint Night! #pintsforapurpose