“To perpetuate the history, culture, and stories of the Cherokee people”
To accomplish this mission, the museum maintains a permanent exhibit, extensive artifact collection, archives, education programs, artist series, and a gift shop. The museum also publishes the Journal of Cherokee Studies.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian opened in 1948 and moved to its present facility in 1976. Its exhibit was totally renovated in 1998, when a new 12,000-square-foot exhibit was installed. A new education wing of 8,500 square feet was added in 2010. The museum is a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status, and it operates self-sufficiently based on admissions revenue and gift shop sales.
The museum has helped to revitalize the stamped pottery tradition by creating and working with the Cherokee Potters Guild; traditional dance by sponsoring the Warriors of AniKituhwa; traditional 18th century Cherokee dress; feather capes; and language. Because of this work, the museum received the Community Traditions Award from the North Carolina Arts Council and the Mountain Heritage Award from Western Carolina University. For its work with the Cherokee Heritage Trails project, the Museum received the Preserve America Presidential Award.