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Asheville Art Museum (AAM), located in the heart of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, was founded by area artists in 1948. It exhibits the region's artifacts and works from Black Mountain College. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, AAM is a member of the North Carolina Arts Council's Heritage Craft Trail.The museum features the Achilles Art Resource, library, Carbon Power & Light Cyber Art Space, Holden Community Gallery and Teacher Resource Center. It also organizes workshops, lectures, films, tours and travel programs.A museum gift shop is attached to the museum.
Museums in Asheville, N.C.
In a city rich with culture, it&aposs no wonder Asheville is home to a growing number of top-notch museums.
From a newly expanded art museum to the opening of a museum celebrating a famous Asheville inventor, you&aposll find a breadth of unique experiences. These museums are highly-interactive, allowing people of all ages to explore art, history and science hands on.
Here&aposs a look at the best museums to see on your next visit to Asheville:
The Moogseum is a one-of-a-kindxperience that celebrates the life and work of music pioneer and long-time Asheville resident Dr. Bob Moog. Moog is best known for his 1960s invention of the revolutionary Moog Synthesizer, which electronically recreates the sounds of instruments. The Moogseum includes eightxhibits, many of them interactive, designed for playful exploration of sound, technology and science.
Envision Moog&aposs creative process by exploring the recreation of his work bench. Step inside an immersive dome where you can learn how electricity turns into sound when it goes through a circuit! Explore an interactive timeline of Moog&aposs life and the history of sound synthesis. And, dive deeper in the archival center which features more than 1,000 pieces of rare archival material accessible by touch-screen kiosks. There will also be rare memorabilia including one of the first theremins Moog built when he started his company in 1954.
Asheville Museum of Science
Bring your family to this exploratory science museum and experience in downtown Asheville! At the Asheville Museum of Science, you’ll find fully interactive exhibits. Be like a geologist in the Colburn Hall of Minerals, discover topography with the Terra Box elevation simulator, dig for fossils and splash in the French Broad River water table! While you’re there, also check out the Teratophoneus dinosaur skeleton and climb into the tree canopy of the Southern Appalachian Forestry exhibit.
Asheville Art Museum
2 S. Pack Square, Asheville
The Asheville Art Museum is open following a $24 million renovation and expansion. The 68,000-square-foot museum featuresꀠth and 21st century American art. The museum’s collection of 5,000 objects and art pieces are displayed in beautiful galleries through the three-floor building. There is rooftop sculpture terrace and café. Make sure to check out the museum’s exterior after dark. The brand new glass exterior will be lit up at night to help illuminate the city’s Pack Square. The Asheville Art Museum is open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays.
On second Thursdays, local musicians enliven our spaces with music to complement your visit. As you stroll the galleries, a variety of tunes adds new dimensions to your viewing experience.
Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center
120 College Street, Asheville
See historic and contemporary art exhibits at the two-floor Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in downtown Asheville. Rotating exhibitions are on display for about four months at a time. The museum serves to preserve and continue the legacy of the innovative Black Mountain College. Black Mountain College opened in 1933 as a progressive arts college fundamentally different from other colleges and universities at the time. It was owned and operated by the faculty with the arts as a central focus to the learning experience. While the college closed in 1957, its powerful influence lives on.
Center for Craft
67 Broadway Street, Asheville
Following a 7,000-square foot expansion, the Center for Craft is open to the public. The Center is the place to see and experience the work of the next generation of emerging craft artists. The Center offers free exhibitions, hands-on learning for all ages and spaces with events throughout the day and evening. You&aposll also find both indoor and outdoor art installations by national craft icons and top emerging artists from the Asheville area.
The Center for Craft also offers Craft City Food and Art Tours (temporarily closed for 2020). The three-hour excursion links Asheville&aposs gallery and museums with the city&aposs unparalleled food scene to show the link between craft and cuisine! Tour stops include Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, Herbiary and Horse and Hero. All tours are from 3-6 p.m. and begin at Blue Spiral 1 gallery.
Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center
223 West State Street, Black Mountain
In the heart of the nearby town of Black Mountain, discover a history museum in the town’s 1921 fire house. The Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center offers exhibits showcasing the area’s rich history through photographs, original materials, oral histories and documents. Throughout the year the museum organizes hikes to hidden historic locations through the Swannanoa Valley. The museum is open April through November.
Asheville Pinball Museum
1 Battle Square, Asheville
Not only can you see more than 50 vintage pinball tables and classic video arcade games, you can play unlimited pinball for one price on dozens of other machines in the collection. The Asheville Pinball Museum is located in the old Battery Park Hotel, a building that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of the pinball machines date back to 1940s. While the oldest machines aren’t for play, the machines from the 1960s and later still work well. Each machine features a plaque with historical information. Want to take the pinball experience home with you? Some of the machines are for sale!
Antique Car Museum
111 Grovewood Rd., Asheville
Opens April 1, 2021
Admire gorgeous vintage automobiles at the Antique Car Museum at Grovewood Village adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn. The 1923 building once housed the looms for the Biltmore Industries’ weaving shop. Now, you’ll see antique vehicles including a rare 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and Asheville’s own 1922 American LaFrance fire truck. All the cars in the museum are in running condition.
Biltmore House can easily be considered a museum as you&aposll find meticulously preserved and restored pieces from George Vanderbilt&aposs collection throughout this world-class mansion.iltmore is as magnificent today as it was when it was built more than a century ago. George W. Vanderbilt created the estate in the 1890’s as a grand retreat in the North Carolina mountains. This French Renaissance castle in the heart of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains is an architectural jewel. The home features 250 rooms, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces.
More nearby museums:
Dale’s Wheels Through Time Museum (Maggie Valley) — This museum is home to the “world’s premier collection of rare American motorcycles, memorabilia and one off American automobiles.” There are more than 300 rare machines in all.
Mountain Farm Museum (Cherokee) — At the main North Carolina entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, take a stroll through history at the Mountain Farm Museum. The museum is actually a collection of historic log buildings gathered from throughout the Smoky Mountains and preserved in one place.
Veteran’s History Museum (Brevard) — There is no charge to see this large collection of military artifacts, uniforms, weaponry, original newspapers and personal letters. The museum honors veterans of all branches of the military but especially those of the Carolinas and north Georgia region.
American Museum of the House Cat (Dillsboro) — Cat lovers unite! See more than 5,000 cat-related items including rare antiques. Dr. Harold Sims has been building his collection for more than 30 years. Proceeds from ticket sales fund his no-kill cat shelter.
Museum of North Carolina Minerals (Spruce Pine) — The mountains north of Asheville are among the most mineral rich in the United States. Explore more than 300 varieties of minerals and gems at this National Park Service-operated museum located on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Asheville Art Museum
As of September 9, 2020, the Asheville Art Museum’s galleries, the Museum Store, and Perspective Café are open regular hours with limited capacity. Art PLAYce, our intergenerational makerspace, and the Frances Mulhall Achilles Art Research Library remain temporarily closed. Visitors may purchase admission tickets and/or become Members at the welcome desk during a visit or online at ashevilleart.org. Both onsite and virtual programs are currently being offered, and a full calendar can be found at ashevilleart.org/events. Virtual programs, blog posts, a virtual Museum experience, and more can be found on our Museum From Home page. For updates and information for planning your visit, please ashevilleart.org/visit.
Established by artists and incorporated in 1948, the Asheville Art Museum is committed to being a vital force in community and individual development and to providing lifelong opportunities for education and enrichment through the visual arts. The Museum’s mission is to engage, enlighten, and inspire individuals and enrich community through dynamic experiences in American art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The newly renovated 54,000-square-foot building opened in November of 2019 and the Museum presents a robust schedule of engaging exhibitions throughout the year featuring American art of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Museum also offers a broad variety of innovative programs for all ages, including: classes and workshops for adults, college students, children and families guided and group tours concerts and performances volunteer and docent programs year-round and summer internship programs film screenings lectures and panel discussions school and teacher programs special events and much more.
Asheville Art Museum and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian present 'A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art'
A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art features over 50 works of art in a variety of media by 30+ Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and Cherokee Nation artists. The exhibition highlights the use of the written Cherokee language, a syllabary developed by Cherokee innovator Sequoyah (circa 1776). Cherokee syllabary is frequently found in the work of Cherokee artists as a compositional element or the subject matter of the work itself. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina from June 12, 2021 to October 31, 2021, and in the Asheville Art Museum’s Appleby Foundation Exhibition Hall from November 18, 2021 to March 14, 2022.
Pictured: "Ul&aposnigid," Rhiannon Skye Tafoya.
(Photo: courtesy Steph Wisnet, Asheville Art Museum)
The Cherokee Syllabary is a system of writing developed by Sequoyah in the early 1800s prior to the Removal period. Through Sequoyah’s innovative work, Cherokee people embraced the writing system as an expedient form of communication and documentation. During the Removal period, the syllabary was used as a tactic to combat land dispossession. Cherokee people continue to use the syllabary as a form of cultural expression and pride, which is showcased in the contemporary artwork of the Cherokee Citizens in this exhibition.
“We are pleased to host this gathering of works from contemporary Cherokee artists, who perfectly illustrate how our language is a living and evolving part of who we are. It is moving to see how each artist finds inspiration in their own way from this language that connects us as Cherokee people,” said Shana Bushyhead Condill, executive director of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
“The Asheville Art Museum and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian have been long term collaborators, and we are delighted to further our partnership by working together to manage an open call to Cherokee artists and subsequently curate this exciting exhibition of contemporary works that take inspiration from, celebrate, preserve and interpret the syllabary,” said Pamela L. Myers, executive director of the Asheville Art Museum. “On view at both museums, we hope the exhibition engages a wide and diverse audience in dialogue with these extraordinary works.”
Pictured: A bag by Kenny Glass.
(Photo: courtesy Steph Wisnet, Asheville Art Museum)
A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art is organized by the Asheville Art Museum and Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and curated by Joshua Adams, EBCI artist and independent curator, and Hilary Schroeder, assistant curator at the Asheville Art Museum. This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, and sponsored in part by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and Kevin Click and April Liou in memory of Myron E. Click.
382 Blue Ridge Parkway | Asheville, NC
Established in 1895, Allanstand Craft Shop is nationally recognized as the oldest craft shop in America. Explore artisan-made jewelry, textiles, pottery, glass, and much more, crafted by the members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, over 400 artists and craftspeople of Southern Appalachia.
DAILY CRAFT DEMONSTRATIONS
Visitors are invited to watch and interact with Guild artisans demonstrating their craft in the lobby from 10am-4pm. Visit craftguild.org/events or call 828-298-7928 for the schedule.
Preserving Southern Appalachian craft & culture since 1980
Featuring both traditional and contemporary works by members of the Guild and affiliated organizations.
Exhibitions focusing on the works of five members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
Selected Works from the Guild's Permanent Collection of international craft ranging from AD 1000 to the present day. Alcove Room: select works from the Permanent Collection.
Showcasing one-of-a-kind furniture and home accessories crafted by Guild members.
Named for one of the Folk Art Center's founders, the library contains over 20,000 historical and current volumes of books, exhibition catalogs, video, and more relating to craft from around the world.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GUILD & THE FOLK ART CENTER
Built in 1980 to preserve Southern Appalachian culture on the Blue Ridge Parkway
During the construction of the Parkway, a cooperative relationship formed between the National Park Service & the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Together with the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Folk Art Center was built.
Today, it holds a craft shop, library, three exhibition spaces, an auditorium for special events, and a National Park Service bookstore and information desk.
Asheville has always been the hub of commerce for Western NC, and has seen over two centuries of growth and changes, with a steady stream of visitors and residents coming to its downtown. Whether the purpose of coming downtown was for business, entertainment, social connections or just to pass through, the presence of the arts has been a part of the experience.
In the early days, downtown businesses sold handcrafted functional goods among their clothing, hardware, and general stores. Craft shops and art galleries were not to be found. However, in 1908 a visionary and influential woman named Frances L. Goodrich brought her rural cottage industry, located almost 40 miles away, into downtown Asheville. Allanstand Craft Shop opened in downtown Asheville that same year and sold handmade baskets, ceramic ware, woven items, furniture, ironwork, and more, made by artisans from the surrounding mountain communities.
Downtown Asheville thrived and was an exciting small city until the Great Depression, after which there was a decline that lasted about fifty years. In the later decades of the 20th-Century, a dedicated group of local businesses and advocates fought to keep Asheville&rsquos historic structures intact and slowly the arts breathed life back into downtown. Music venues, bookstores, independent art retailers and restaurants opened their doors, and so the re-growth of downtown began.
In 1999, a group of galleries formed the Downtown Gallery Association, later to become the Downtown Asheville Art District, a conglomerate of fine art and craft businesses dedicated to supporting one another and bolstering the arts in downtown Asheville. In 2020, DAAD added a letter to its title and the newly minted Downtown Asheville Arts District expanded to include visual and performing arts entities who bring
The Folk Art Center in Asheville boasts two floors of fine crafts produced by members of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild in a delightful, airy venue that practically overhangs the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here you’ll find some of the region’s most exquisite wovens, glassware, basketry, handmade furniture, ceramic treasures and nature-inspired jewelry, along with hundreds of gift ideas. Demonstrations take place inside and out, spring through fall color
a chance to jawbone with the artist while his or her hands are busy making something glorious.
The Folk Art Center houses three exhibit galleries, a craft library, an auditorium, and the Allanstand Craft Shop, the oldest continuously operating craft store in the nation. Exhibits feature crafts from current members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild as well as samples from the Guild’s 3,500-piece collection of craft objects dating to the turn of the 20th century. The Folk Art Center also offers daily demonstrations by master crafters and a series of educational events seasonally.
Opened as a cooperative effort by the Guild, the National Park Service, and the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Folk Art Center also houses the Eastern National Bookstore and Information Center. The Southern Highland Craft Guild represents over 900 craftspeople in nine southeastern states.
Free admission and open daily except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Plan Your Visit
Welcome! Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) celebrates the history and legacy of Black Mountain College, an experiment in community and arts-centered education near Black Mountain, NC, open from 1933 until 1957. We offer historic and contemporary exhibitions, dynamic events, and research opportunities for those interested in any and all aspects of Black Mountain College (BMC). Admittance is free with suggested donation. We look forward to your visit!
What to Expect
BMCM+AC is fully open. Masks and social distancing measures are required (regardless of vaccination status) and visitors are limited to 10 at a time.
We will continue to offer online and hybrid events into the future, bringing BMC to you wherever you are in the world!
If you have any questions regarding our new guidelines or would like more information to help you plan your visit, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]
Hours + Locations
Monday – Saturday 11am to 5pm
We close our gallery, library, and research center between exhibitions – visit our Exhibitions Page for dates.
BMCM+AC is located in downtown Asheville at 120 College Street
Asheville NC, 28801
There is metered street parking available in downtown Asheville that accepts coins or the Passport Parking App. There are also several lots and garages around town that charge by the hour or day. The closest to the museum is the College Street Parking Deck.
The ART Bus system runs several routes through downtown Asheville. Buses E1, N1 and N2 will get you within a block of the museum. The main bus terminal is only a short walk from the museum, if you are transferring from other routes. For information and bus schedules, visit the City of Asheville’s website.
Our front entrance off of College Street is features a ramp to the sidewalk however our door is not automatic, please knock on street level window or call (828) 350-8484 and our staff will be happy to assist you. Both our upper and lower galleries are accessible with an elevator available between floors. We are always trying to improve accessibility, as our small nonprofit can allow. If you have any issues or suggestions, please contact our Outreach Manager, Kate Averett, at [email protected] or (828) 350-8484.
To schedule a tour or get more information on our in-person and virtual options, please contact [email protected] We advise advanced notice of three weeks or more in order to give you the best experience. Tours will be limited within COVID 19 policy guidelines.
For overnight visits, please see Explore Asheville for more information on accommodations and the wide array of restaurants and activities available during your stay.
BMCM+AC offers up to four exhibitions a year across the lower and upper galleries. Exhibitions explore individuals associated with Black Mountain College as well as themes on the college. Artworks on display utilize our permanent collection of over 3,000 objects as well as loans from other institutions. Contemporary artists in dialogue with Black Mountain College are featured by invitation.
We offer a dynamic schedule of lectures, presentations, film screenings, poetry readings, panel discussions, and performances that are open to the public. Programming spans a variety of topics related to BMC and beyond.
When visiting our 120 College Street location, take the opportunity to view several short films that share the remarkable history of Black Mountain College. Please visit our Black Mountain College Research Center which features our special collections, books, DVDs, and oral histories related to the history of BMC. Our Ronald R. Janssen Collection features books and journals related to the artists, writers, and movements of BMC.
Permanent Collection :
BMCM+AC has an extensive collection of more than 3,000 pieces of artwork and ephemera connected to Black Mountain College. We are currently in the process of digitizing our permanent collection thanks to generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation, so stay tuned.
Asheville: Early Beginnings at arossroads
Before the Europeans arrived in what is now North Carolina, the land aroundਊsheville was a part of the Cherokee nation.
After the American Revolution, Colonel Samuel Davidson and his family received a land grant from the state of North Carolina to settle in the Swannanoa Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This early settlement in 1785 paved the way for the future of what would become the city of Asheville.
In 1792, Buncombe County was established with a city called "Morristown" as its county seat. In 1797, thatity was renamed Asheville after North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe.
As a city in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville was an outpost in 1797. Frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett traveled through in the early days. Asheville primarily served as a crossroads of Indian trails on a plateau surrounded by mountains and rivers on all sides.
When the railroad arrived in the area in 1880, it transformed Asheville and Buncombe County into a resort and therapeutic health center. Asheville became a hubਏor visitors searching for a mountain escape, its population climbing to 10,000 permanent residents in 1890.
Asheville&aposs Tradition of Attracting Pioneers, Philanthropists and Artists
As Asheville began its rise to prominence in the 1880s, it continued to draw visionaries, poets and explorers -- a tradition that lives on today.
Among the most notable, George W. Vanderbilt came to Asheville in the late 1880s and purchased 120,000 acres to build a grand estate: Biltmore. The endeavor would took six years to complete. Vanderbilt commissioned renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design the grounds and gardens, and famous architect Richard Morris Hunt to help him plan the house. Biltmore Estate has withstood the test of time and remains America&aposs Largest Home.
Author Thomas Wolfe was born in Asheville in 1900 and grew up in his mother&aposs rambling boardinghouse, known as "Dixieland." Wolfe is one of the giants of American literature, and Asheville is the backdrop for his autobiographical novel, "Look Homeward, Angel."
The boarding house where he grew up is still preserved in downtown Asheville today (pictured left). You can explore the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site with a guided tour.
How the Depression Preserved Asheville&aposs Rich Architecture
As Asheville rose as a hub in Western North Carolina, confidence soared. The city moved its public library into a beautiful new building and constructed a brand new courthouse.
But when the stock market crashed, Asheville was hit hard. With so much bonded debt to pay for new construction in the "Roaring Twenties," Asheville had no money to invest in urban renewal projects that were so popular in other cities following the crash. While growth slowed in Asheville, the difficult times actually helped preserve the city&aposs historic architecture.
The magnificent buildings built during the boom years were spared as a result of Asheville&aposs commitment to repay its debt. This is why Asheville remains a snap shot of what an American boomtown looked like during the turn of the century. As you explore the city, you&aposll see restaurants, galleries and independent shops housed in elegant art deco buildings.
You can explore Asheville&aposs richਊrchitecture and history along the Asheville Urban Trail. This self-guided walking tour of downtown Asheville featuresꀰ sculptural trail station that help bring Asheville&aposs history to life.
African American Voices Speak of Rich History and Vibrant Future
We meet our guide Joe Greene at the WRES studio next to Jack of the Wood on Patton Avenue, as the groovy sounds of R&B, soul, and funk emanate from the station’s speakers. The music brings smiles and an occasional booty shake from &hellip read more
Our historic Dye House (Biltmore Industries’ production facility) is not handicap accessible or heated. Warm attire on cold days and comfortable walking shoes are strongly recommended.
“Just ten minutes north of downtown Asheville you can discover a local treasure tucked away in a charming neighborhood. Grovewood Village is a part of Asheville’s history, with ties to Vanderbilt and Grove, as well as a present-day destination for wonderful art and fine craft. It’s a memorable place!”