Old Fort has long been considered a “gateway” to the Blue Ridge Mountains and was the site of the westernmost pioneer outpost in North Carolina prior to the Revolutionary War.
The Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center, located in Old Fort, North Carolina, provides an excellent introduction to mountain lifestyle and history.
Old Fort has long been considered a “gateway” to the Blue Ridge Mountains and was the site of the westernmost pioneer outpost in North Carolina prior to the Revolutionary War. The Mountain Gateway Museum’s exhibits, artifacts, photographs, and video interpret life in Western North Carolina from the earliest inhabitants through the settlement period and into the 20th century.
Housed in a beautiful 1936 WPA stone building on the banks of historic Mill Creek, the Mountain Gateway Museum offers many educational programs, including the history of handmade instruments and homemade music of the mountain people in Old Fort. Many events take place in the museum’s outdoor amphitheater beneath large shade trees. Picnic tables are available.
The museum is a popular place for weddings, family reunions, and other group activities. Reservations are required, and there is a rental fee.
The Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center is the westernmost regional facility in the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources’ Division of State History Museums. The four-acre site includes the museum building, a rock gazebo and small fountain, two nineteenth-century log cabins, a creek-side outdoor amphitheater, the bungalow-style Mauney House (which serves as an office building), and its adjoining garage, used as an exhibit fabrication workshop.
A short walk from the Mountain Gateway Museum is the renovated Old Fort train depot, where visitors can view an exhibit of the extraordinary railroad history in the area. Colorful painted large quilt square designs adorn many building in town, including the museum.
Old Fort is a North Carolina Mountain Heritage Trout Town and the museum acts as the center for that program. The N.C. Wildlife Commission maintains and stocks the creek as a delayed harvest site. It’s also included on the N.C. Birding Trail.
The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a program of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.