Rural Heritage Museum

Fb F Logo  Blue 29 Lecture at the Museum TONIGHT, May 4th

Taylor Barnhill, chief researcher for the Appalachian Barn Alliance, will speak about the history and evolution of Appalachian barn construction tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Museum.

The lecture will be followed by a guided walk-through of the current exhibition. Free admission.​

The Rural Heritage Museum hours are 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
The museum is closed on Mondays.
The museum is open all year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter, and all Mondays.

Director: Les Reker
Interested in a guided tour? Please email:
Office: 828-689-1400
P.O. Box 6705

Mars Hill, NC 28754


***   NEWS  RELEASE   ***


EXHIBITION AWARD  to Rural Heritage Museum of Mars Hill University    Semc Award Scan

The Rural Heritage Museum of Mars Hill University was recognized by The Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) as the Silver place winner of the SEMC Exhibition Competition (in the Under $25,000 category) at the SEMC Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon, October 12, 2016, at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, NC. It is one of only two Museums in North Carolina recognized this year.
The exhibition How the West was Won: Trains and the Transformation of Western North Carolina, was curated and designed by the Rural Heritage Museum and was featured June 27, 2015 – January 31, 2016 at the Museum in Mars Hill. It then travelled to the Historic Depot in the city of Marion, NC, to the Historic Depot in Saluda, NC, and to the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort, NC. In February, the exhibition will be installed for a year-long run at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

The award was presented to the Rural Heritage Museum​ Director, Les Reker by the SEMC President, Dr. David Butler.



"Shelter on the Mountain: Barns and the Built Environment of the Southern Highlands"


We are busy at work installing our next exhibition "Shelter on the Mountain: Barns and the Built Environment of the Southern Highlands."
There will be a preview reception, co- hosted by the Appalachian Barn Alliance, Sunday, October 23rd from 1-3 pm. Everyone welcome.

1st Place Adult Regina Fowler    Photo by Regina Fowler

Click link in top left column of page for directions.


New Blue Ridge Heritage Trail Sign Installed at the RURAL HERITAGE MUSEUM

Brnha Sign Lunsford Dillingham Reker

(left to right) Dr. Dan Lunsford, University President, Mr. Richard Dillingham, University Historian and first Director of the Museum, and Mr. Les Reker, current Director of the Rural Heritage Museum.

A new interpretive wayside sign greets visitors to the Rural Heritage Museum in Mars Hill and is one of 69 such signs being installed on the new Blue Ridge Heritage Trail. The Trail is a collection of special places throughout the North Carolina Mountains and foothills that embody the remarkable history and culture of the region, and is an initiative of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership. (BRNHA).

At each location, the sign tells the stories of the people and places that have shaped the distinctive heritage of the 25 westernmost counties in North Carolina. The (Site location name) sign tells the story about the Rural Heritage Museum.
In addition to the signs, the Trail will be enhanced with the installation of interactive kiosks in five NC Welcome Centers that greet visitors to the region, plus a map brochure and website to help them get around the region and learn more about each site.

This initiative is designed to attract and inform visitors, students, and residents alike about the many natural and cultural heritage attractions in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. The goal is to encourage people to discover places they may not know about. It is not a “Point A to Point B” trail, but rather many stops throughout the region. People can enjoy a single stop or piece together several sites by theme, town, region or activity to create their own personalized “trail.” QR codes on each sign will enable people with smart phones to locate other nearby sites.

The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a project of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership and was supported by Federal Highway.
Transportation Enhancement funding administered through the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Haywood County, NC.

PAST EXHIBITIONS: “OUR STORY – THIS PLACE”: The History of African American Education in Madison County, North Carolina: The Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School

Exhibition dates: September 14, 2014 – February, 28, 2015
“INTERWOVEN: Coverlets, Ballads, and America’s Discovery of Madison County Folklife.”
Exhibition dates: September 29, 2013 - August 13, 2014.