Wayside Exhibit of the Trail of Tears

Cherokee County Historical Museum

Certified TOT-NHT Interpretive Site

Celebrating Cherokee traditions and pioneer days


The Cherokee County Historical Museum displays the rich history of Native American and pioneer settlers in the far-western corner of the state. The museum is housed in a historic Carnegie Library building in downtown Murphy.

The Museum’s exhibits include:

• a collection of over 2,000 Cherokee artifacts, assembled over a span of fifty years by local resident Arthur Palmer
• 40 exhibit panels with drawings and photographs that interpret local Cherokee history and culture
• antique farm implements and vintage household items (many hand-made) used by early pioneer settlers in the county
• over 700 collectible dolls, donated by local resident Louise Kilgore

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

The museum serves as an interpretive center for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Murphy was the site of Fort Butler, one of the main holding areas for Cherokees who were being removed from North Carolina in the 1830’s. Other sites in and around Murphy play a prominent role in Cherokee history, mythology, and culture.

The museum houses a replica of the log cabin dwellings used by the Cherokee residents of the area at the time of their removal. This type of dwelling was also typical of that used by pioneer settlers, many of whom moved into the vacated Cherokee cabins.

In front of the building rests an ancient stone turtle carved from soapstone that is associated with a Cherokee creation legend.

For fees and other news, visit their Facebook page.


Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 3 pm

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