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Asheville Museum of History to open this fall

Discover the history of WNC inside Ashevilles’s oldest surviving house.

Smith-McDowell House

The view of the Smith-McDowell House, home to the Asheville Museum of History.

Photo by AVLtoday

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How well do you know Asheville’s history? Whether it’s a lot or just a little, you’ll likely learn something new about our city when exploring the Asheville Museum of History, opening in late fall of this year.

Looking into the past

The museum will open inside the historic Smith-McDowell House at 283 Victoria Rd. The building is the oldest surviving house in Asheville — and now it’s getting a new chance to detail many of the untold stories of our region.

“Most large houses that still exist tell one type of story,” says Asheville Museum of History’s Executive Director Anne Chesky. “And so, you know, we worked with the house to start telling the stories of all the people who have been here throughout time, starting with native occupants of this land.”

What will be inside?

One permanent exhibit in the museum will be a timeline detailing major events in WNC history. Two other permanent galleries will showcase the human, cultural, and natural development of the region. “We want, especially with the permanent exhibits, to be able to represent everyone who’s helped shape and continues to help shape our region. You know, we don’t want it to be a narrow view of our history,” says Anne.

Patrons can also expect a variety of changing exhibits in the museum that dive deeper into a single topic.

First edition copy of "Save Me the Waltz" by Zelda Fitzgerald

A first-edition copy of “Save Me the Waltz” by Zelda Fitzgerald was part of the library at Highland Hospital where Zelda died in 1948. The library card shows it was first checked out by Zelda herself.

Photo by Anne Chesky

How can you help?

The nonprofit relies on donations and memberships to tell the unique history of our region. See the perks you get with a membership pass, including free admission to the museum.

The Western North Carolina Historical Association is in need of volunteers to assist at the front desk and assist visitors. Consider yourself a history buff? They’re also in search of guides to lead tours through the museum.

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