The Smith-McDowell House Museum is temporarily closed. We have a variety of events, both virtual and in-person, scheduled during our closure.
Please see our Event Calendar for registration.



Our museum is temporarily closed for interior renovations. Please visit our virtual exhibits by clicking here.


Visit our virtual exhibits, 1918 vs. 2020, Hillbillyland, Deep Dive in Archives, and Douglas Ellington. Check back regularly as we make more content available digitally.

Special Events

We offer a variety of events throughout the year. Join us for LitCafe, History Hour, Outdoor Experiences, our Intro to WNC History Lecture Series, and more!


We have annually presented the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary and Outstanding Achievement awards since 1955.

Youth Programs

Area educators can check out one of our many traveling trunks or bring their students to our museum for guided tours and lessons.


Our archival and object collections rotate on and off display in our period rooms and changing exhibits.

George Avery - age 71

Image: George Avery, 1917
Formerly enslaved by the McDowell family, Avery became caretaker of the South Asheville Cemetery, WNC’s oldest public cemetery for African-American burials, after emancipation.



The Western North Carolina Historical Association celebrates the enduring stories that define and shape our region. Through special exhibits and tours of the Smith-McDowell House, we strive to celebrate the stories of people from all backgrounds who have called western North Carolina home, with two key goals — to advance the understanding of our shared history and to explore how this history relates to the issues we face in the present.