The Swannanoa Museum & History Center is very clear about its mission as a local museum that serves the western North Carolina community as Buncombe County’s primary museum of general, local history. But there is also an appeal for the visitor as well. This is a real people’s museum about real people … the people of Black Mountain and the Swannanoa Valley.
Perhaps that’s one reason why it’s so fitting that the museum be housed inside the town’s old fire station, built in 1921. It too is on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum itself is small but appealing — and the exhibits are made up of artifacts and displays that reflect the town.
The permanent exhibit includes memorabilia from days gone by like a school girl’s notebook or a child’s desk. But there are ever-changing special exhibits that can reflect on topics like Civil War experiences, the town-gown relationship with Black Mountain College or a watercolor exhibit that focuses on walking tours of Black Mountain.
The museum stays true to Black Mountain’s vision of itself as the front porch of Western North Carolina through its many field trips. If you are in the area, think about signing up for a “Daycation,” monthly excursions for non-hikers to see natural and heritage sites in the valley.
There are also regional hikes and a separate Rim Explorer program for experienced hikers to visit more remote spots in the Black Mountains.
It’s a dual mission that this small local museum embraces — bring people to the museum to see exhibits and bring people to the field to explore natural and heritage treasures that can’t be contained in a museum.
Admission is by donation.
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