The Cherokee Homestead Exhibit, located in downtown Hayesville, is an outdoor exhibit which includes replicas of a 17th century winter house, summer house, corn crib, summer shelter, mound gardens, dugout canoe, and public art depicting elements of the Cherokee culture. The elements of the exhibit were researched and are as authentic and accurate as possible. Informational kiosks at the exhibit enable free self-guided tours at any time.

The winter house and summer house were constructed with upright locust poles which support the rivercane woven sides and thatched roofs. Mud and straw daub create the plaster which was added to the woven sides of the winter house in order to enclose it against the cold winter weather. The circular fire pit would have been used for cooking, heat and light throughout the winter. The corn crib was constructed similar to the summer house and raised off the ground to prevent pilfering by animals. A shelter, located near the mound gardens, would have been used for a multitude of activities during warm weather, including basket making, flint knapping, and pounding corn kernels into corn meal. A dugout canoe constructed from the straight trunk of a poplar tree was placed under the summer house to shelter it from the elements.

Forged metal masks placed throughout the exhibit represent the seven Cherokee clans: bird, blue, deer, long hair, paint, wild potato, and wolf. A two-story wall mural shows representative elements of the Cherokee culture including petroglyphs, pottery, projectile points, tools, weapons, and woven baskets. The wall also contains plaques with Cherokee philosophical thoughts written in English and Cherokee Syllabary.

Hand-forged metal disks have been placed on both sides of the fence atop the wall and contain iconic figures of Cherokee culture and legends.

Tours and workshops are provided by volunteers for public and private schools, colleges, adult classes and tour groups at the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit. Arrangements for a guided tour or workshop may be scheduled by calling (828) 389-3045.

The Cherokee Homestead Exhibit is the site of the Cherokee Heritage Festival held from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on the third Saturday in September.

Sponsored by the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association, a non-profit 501C3 organization. Please visit or write to PO Box 1533, Hayesville, NC 28904 for more information.