Museums and Exhibits in the Georgia Mountains

The North Georgia mountains are full of rich history — and not just where gold is involved! Visit these informative exhibits and museums in North Georgia for an impressive look at what has shaped the modern things we see today.

 

Museums and Exhibits in the Georgia Mountains

Learn more about the fascinating history of the area at these museums in the Georgia mountains.

 

 

Museums and Exhibits in Blairsville, GA

 

Mountain Life Museum

Museum of Mountain Life if Blairsville GA

Museum of Mountain Life if Blairsville GA [photo Union County Historical Society Facebook]

The Mountain Life Museum in Blairsville is located in the 1906 Butt/Mock home and includes several historic buildings: the Mock House and the Civil War-era Payne Cabin, barn, corn-crib, and smithy. Open seasonally from May through December. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are appreciated to help with museum upkeep.

 

Old Courthouse Museum

Blairsville Old Courthouse Museum

Blairsville Old Courthouse Museum

The Old Courthouse Museum is open year-round and offers free admission for everyone (donations are appreciated to help with museum upkeep).

Learn more about Blairsville history here:

 

Reece Farm & Heritage Center

The Big Barn at Reece Farm in Blairsville, GA

The Big Barn at Reece Farm in Blairsville, GA

Experience early 20th-century Appalachian farm life at The Reece Farm & Heritage Center. The exhibits showcase the early 1900s Appalachian style of farming and include authentic farm buildings, a museum, and farm animals. There is also a gift shop, creek-side amphitheater, and picnic tables. Free admission and printable self-guided tour.

 

Museums & Exhibits in Blue Ridge, GA

 

Bigfoot Expedition

Bigfoot Attraction Entrance in Georgia Mountains

Bigfoot Attraction Entrance in Georgia Mountains

Explore the world’s largest bigfoot collection at this exhibit located just outside of Blue Ridge. Free admission for active military and children under 5.

 

Museums in Cleveland, GA

 

White County History Museum

White County History Museum in Cleveland, GA

White County History Museum in Cleveland, GA

The White County History Museum is located in the old courthouse on the Cleveland square. The restored historic courthouse houses a local history museum with exhibits of clay pottery as well as other artifacts of living in the Northeast Georgia mountains. This local landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Free admission.

 

Museums in Cornelia, GA

Visit these museums in Cornelia to learn more about the history of Habersham County. Read more about the local history in Habersham 200: New Thoughts of Old Things, a book compiled for the celebration of the county bicentennial in 2018.

 

The Cornelia Historic Train Depot Museum

Cornelia Historic Train Depot Museum

Cornelia Historic Train Depot Museum [photo discovercornelia.com]

Learn about the famous Tallulah Falls Railway and more of the town of Cornelia’s exciting history! An electric car charger is available.

 

Standard Telephone Museum & The Regional African American Museum of Northeast Georgia

Take a step back in time to the dawn of the telecommunications age with the Standard Telephone Company and Historical Society Museum. Then learn more about the culture and heritage of the African Americans in North Georgia with the artifacts on display at the Regional African American Museum.

 

Museums and Exhibits in Dahlonega, GA

These Dahlonega locations help visitors understand how the town boomed with a gold rush then reinvented itself after the industry declined.

 

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site

Dahlonega Gold Museum on Town Square - GaMountainsGuide.com

Dahlonega Gold Museum in the middle of the Town Square in Dahlonega

Stop at the Dahlonega Gold Museum in the middle of Dahlonega’s town square and learn more about America’s first major gold rush in Georgia’s oldest existing courthouse! View local artifacts and see displays of gold coins that were minted in Dahlonega. This attraction at the center of the Dahlonega Square opens daily at 9:00 a.m. (10:00 a.m. on Sundays) and closes at 4:45 p.m.

 

George E. Coleman, Sr. Planetarium

Coleman Planetarium in Dahlonega GA

Coleman Planetarium in Dahlonega GA

Experience a realistic simulation of the night sky — as seen from anywhere on the surface of the Earth from the ancient past and into the far future!  After the planetarium show (and weather permitting), visit the observatory to view the night sky through the research-grade telescope!

The free, one-hour public planetarium show happens most Fridays at 8 p.m. Doors open for seating at 7:30 pm and the show begins promptly at 8:00 pm. Get there early because there is no admittance after the show begins.

  • Phone – Planetarium: +1 (706) 864-1471
  • Phone – Observatory: +1 (706) 864-8642
  • Address: 82 College Circle, Dahlonega, GA
  • Website: ung.edu/planetarium

NOTE that all Coleman Planetarium events have been on hold due to COVID-19 — please confirm the weekly event is happening before you travel!

 

The 1884 Lumpkin County Jail and Museum

The 1884 Lumpkin County Jail in Dahlonega, GA

The 1884 Lumpkin County Jail in Dahlonega, GA

This museum does not stay open with regular hours, rather it is opened in conjunction with Dahlonega’s festivals such as Bear on the Square (April), Fourth of July Family Day (July), and Gold Rush Days (October). You may send an email request to LCHSociety@Gmail.com if you would like to visit the museum at another time.

 

Learn more about Dahlonega’s exciting history before your visit!

 

Museums in Ellijay, GA

 

Tabor House and Civil War Museum

Tabor House Museum in Ellijay, GA

Tabor House Museum in Ellijay, GA

Originally built in 1870, the Tabor House is the oldest family home in the city of Ellijay. The Gilmer County Historical Society’s Tabor House and Civil War Museum houses over 200 books and several videos about the Civil War from both points of view. Free admission.

 

Museums in Helen, GA

 

Helen Arts and Heritage

Helen Arts & Heritage Center in Helen, GA

Helen Arts & Heritage Center in Helen, GA

Helen Arts and Heritage is a non-profit organization founded to promote the appreciation of the arts and local history through educational instruction, workshops, exhibits. Since 2007 it has been showcasing the special talents of local artists and historians. Be sure to visit regularly as the gallery at the Helen Arts and Heritage Center changes six times a year.

Open to the public daily from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Free admission.

  • Phone: +1 (706) 878-3933
  • Address: 25 Chattahoochee Strasse, Helen, GA
  • Website: helenarts.org

 

Museums in Mountain City, GA

 

Foxfire

The Foxfire Museum and Heritage Site

The Foxfire Museum and Heritage Site

from the Foxfire website:

In 1966, a new teacher at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School was struggling to engage students in his high school English class. In frustration, he asked them what they thought would make the curriculum interesting. They decided to create a magazine, honing their writing skills on stories gathered from their families and neighbors, and producing articles about the pioneer era of southern Appalachia as well as living traditions still thriving in the region.

They called it “Foxfire” after the glowing fungus that clings to rotted wood in the local hills. This spark of an idea, and the work that followed, has turned into a phenomenon of education and living history, teaching readers, writers, visitors, and students how our past contributes to who we are and what we can become – how the past illuminates our present and inspires imagination.

This Rabun County attraction is open Monday – Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed Sunday). Regular adult admission is $8.00.

  • Phone: +1 (706) 746-5828
  • Address: 98 Foxfire Lane, Mountain City, GA

 

Exhibits and Museums in Sautee Nacoochee, GA

 

Hardman Farm Historic Site

Nacoochee Indian Mound at Hardman Farm Historic Site

Nacoochee Indian Mound and a view of Yonah Mtn at Hardman Farm Historic Site

Hardman Farm Historic Site boasts over a thousand years of history on 170 acres. This historic site includes 19 buildings and is the home of the second most recognized feature in Georgia, the Nacoochee Indian Mound.

Closed each year from January 2 – February 28/29. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

Sautee Nacoochee Cultural Center

The Sautee Nacoochee Cultural Center hosts 3 museums that share the history of the Sautee and Nacoochee valleys. Enjoy the Folk Pottery Museum, the African American Heritage Site, and the Nacoochee History Museum!

  • Phone: +1 (706) 878-3300
  • Address: 283 Highway 255 North, Sautee Nacoochee, GA
  • Website: snca.org/snc/museums

 

Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia

Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee Nacoochee, GA

Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee Nacoochee, GA

Explore the historical importance and changing role of folk pottery in southern life at the Folk Pottery Museum. Regular adult admission is $5.00, but admission is free for teachers and military members (ID required).

 

SNC African American Heritage Site

African American Heritage Site in Sautee, GA

African American Heritage Site in Sautee, GA

In 2002, a slave cabin that was built around 1850 was discovered still standing on private property in Sautee Nacoochee.  The landowners donated the cabin to the Heritage Site for historical preservation and a restoration effort soon followed. The restored slave cabin serves as an educational tool, focusing on the story of slavery in Nacoochee Valley. Locally collected antebellum artifacts supplement this teaching exhibit, which candidly and genuinely tells the story of African American life in the area during 1822-1865. Free admission for everyone.

  • Open daily from dawn until dusk
    • Note that the cabin is locked
    • Request access to the cabin by calling the Folk Pottery Museum (706) 878-3300 x307
  • Tours by appointment only
  • Website: snca.org/snc/museums/heritage

 

SNC History Museum

Nacoochee History Museum in Sautee Nacoochee, GA

Nacoochee History Museum in Sautee Nacoochee, GA

Discover the colorful history of the Sautee and Nacoochee valleys through the SNC History Museum’s collection of maps, articles, artifacts, and photographs.

 

Museums in Toccoa, GA

 

Currahee Military Museum

Free admission for veterans ALL YEAR at Currahee Military Museum

Free admission for veterans ALL YEAR at Currahee Military Museum

The Currahee Military Museum in Toccoa, Georgia, holds special military history from events including the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, with a focus on the Paratrooper Infantry Regiment that trained at Camp Toccoa in the early 1940s. The camp was dismantled soon after the war, but memorials have been erected to Camp Toccoa, the paratroopers, and Colonel Robert F. Sink.

This Stephens County attraction is open Monday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Adult admission is regularly $10.00. Free admission for active military.

  • Phone: +1 (860) 870-3563
  • Address: 160 North Alexander Street, Toccoa, GA
  • Website: toccoahistory.com

 

Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site

Traveler's Rest Historic Site

Traveler’s Rest Historic Site [photo ExploreGeorgia.org]

Explore the Traveler’s Rest historic stagecoach inn (built in 1815) and its numerous artifacts and furnishings.

 

Museums and Exhibits in Young Harris, GA

 

Rollins Planetarium

Rollins Planetarium at Young Harris College

Rollins Planetarium at Young Harris College

Rollins Planetarium is located in the Maxwell Center on the campus of Young Harris College. The planetarium system projects immersive and engaging images of astronomy and the night sky over the entire dome surface and creates a powerful experience for the audience.

See the online schedule of public shows at Rollins Planetarium. Note that shows are on hold for 2021 due to COVID-19 precautions.

 

Young Harris College Observatory

Young Harris College Observatory in Young Harris, GA

Young Harris College Observatory in Young Harris, GA

The Young Harris College Observatory is located 1.5 miles from the college campus at Twiggs Overlook. At an elevation of more than 2,000 feet on the flanks of Brasstown Bald, the observatory benefits from the dark skies of northern Georgia. On special evenings / after planetarium shows, the Young Harris College Observatory is open to the public for telescopic viewing (if skies are clear).

  • Location: Twiggs Overlook (on the exit road leading from Brasstown Valley Resort), Young Harris, GA
    • Maps to the location should be available at Rollins Planetarium
  • Website: yhc.edu/planetarium-observatory

***

Be sure to check and see when/if these locations participate in the Smithsonian Museum Day or Super Museum Sunday to see when you could get free admission into these museums!

6 Responses

  1. Geoff says:

    That certainly is quite a collection of museums.

    I love how the Foxfire education program came about.  It’s amazing how something starts small and then becomes a major education program.

    I love heritage sites and being able to go back in time and see how people used to live.  I always think that if they could see us now, walking about as tourists, what on earth they would make of it.

    There are enough museums to keep people going back time and time again to visit.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Geoff, It is really cool to see how these heritage sites can create an experience that feels like it takes you back in time. Sometimes our history can feel distant when it’s only experienced in a history book, but walking around the preserved spaces can really help to understand a place and its people.

  2. Cogito says:

    Hi Alyce. Thank you for great article. After such difficult year its so good to be able to plan holidays. I never thought that there is so many interesting places to visit in Georgia mountains, both for adults as for kids., Cant wait to go for longer trip there, especially gold museum and Bigfoot expedition is something I would love to see. Pictures also look stunning, and definitely Im adding this area to my ‘must visit’ places

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Cogito, It is definitely nice to be thinking about travel again! The gold museum has some very interesting artifacts and the Bigfoot expedition is just plain fun. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time at these unique North Georgia attractions!

  3. Matt says:

    Great article! I really like your website as well and it has a lot of good info about things to do and places to stay in the Georgia mountains. I do alot of traveling and would like to do more mountain hiking. The next time I am in Georgia, I will definitely use your website and also to plan out my trip. 

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Matt, I’m happy to hear that you’ve found the website to be helpful as you plan your Georgia vacation! Wishing you a wonderful trip!

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