Arts Heritage/History

Special Exhibits at Mountain Gateway Museum

Quilting Party. Mary Lyde Hicks

Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center, in Old Fort, presents two exhibits highlighting very different aspects of the history and culture of Western North Carolina. Uncovered: Airing the Stories of Heirloom Bedcoverings is on display through Saturday, May 29. The show features a sampling of quilts, coverlets and bedspreads made by WNC women and used by their families within the past two centuries. It also explores how colors, fabrics, patterns and needlework in these textiles offer hints about their makers and the times and communities in which they were created.

Uncovered invites visitors to discover the memorable stories embedded in the vintage textiles on display,” says the museum’s historical interpreter and site rental manager Brittany Bennett Joachim.

Waking Rip Van Winkle: Gold, Mineral and Gem Mining in Western North Carolina, running through January 3, 2022, examines various types of mining in the mountain region—from gold used for currency to precious stones set into jewelry—and considers how this industry helped awaken the state from its 19th-century economic slumber. The exhibit looks at the NC Gold Rush and features mineral samples. It will examine the methods of gem and mineral mining in the state between 1799 and 1900 and consider mining’s legacy in WNC, as well as its impact on the environment.

“While covering the materials that were mined, Waking Rip Van Winkle also explores how the mining industry impacted technology, migration and tourism in the region,” says Joachim.

Mountain Gateway Museum is located at 24 Water Street in Old Fort. Admission is free. COVID-19 protocols regarding masks and social distancing apply. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Learn more at

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