The Museum of the Cherokee Indian was founded in 1948 to preserve and perpetuate Cherokee history, culture, and stories through permanent and changing exhibits, workshops, festivals, archives, and special educational programs. The Museum is a non-profit organization representing the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a federally recognized tribe, and has become one of the most visited and successful tribal museums in the United States.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian has been a partner with the North Carolina Arts Council, the North Carolina Folklife Institute, and numerous other state, federal, and tribal agencies and organizations in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia in developing the Cherokee Heritage Trails, a project of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative, since 1977. It serves as the main interpretive center for the trails and has developed the project’s web site, which it hosts and maintains. The Museum has helped produce the Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook, published bye the University of North Carolina Press. The Museum has also been a partner in producing and distributing the Cherokee Artist Directory, a listing of Cherokee folk artists—performers and crafts artists—who are willing to travel and make presentations. In partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council and the Research Laboratories in Archaeology at UNC Chapel Hill, the Museum sponsored and hosted a series of workshops on “Old-Style Cherokee Pottery” that enabled Cherokee potters to revitalize ancient Cherokee pottery traditions.