Haywood County, NC Public Museums
Haywood County is home to a handful of museums that are open to the public at various times throughout the year. These storehouses of history and heritage are excellent resources for research. Remember, it is always a good idea to call ahead and verify the type of materials available for viewing, hours of operation, and any fees that may be related to a visit.
The Canton Area History Museum
The Canton Area History Museum is located on Park Street in the former Canton Branch Library in downtown Canton, North Carolina. The museum was dedicated on Labor Day 1990 and is home to a wonderful overview history of the Canton Area with its agricultural and industrial roots. One entire area has been dedicated to the paper mill industry and illustrates the processes used to make paper. The museum is a nonprofit, educational institution and serves as a Visitor’s Center in downtown Canton.
The Shook-Smathers House and Museum
The Shook-Smathers House and Museum is located on Morgan Street in Clyde, North Carolina. On September 12, 2008 this beautiful house was given Historic Preservation status and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The actual age of the house has been an issue of great debate. In hopes of putting the issue to rest, the NC State Historic Preservation office appointed a committee of specialists to study the Shook-Smathers House. After a careful and critical examination of various building elements in the House, the Committee concluded that the House was constructed circa 1810-20. Local lore has the house dated further back to 1795.
In 2011, the Shook-Smathers House was donated to the Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society by Dr. Joseph Hall. For several years Dr. Hall, a Shook family descendant, has overseen the remarkable restoration and care of the house.
The Shook-Smathers House is open to the public May – September for guided tours. Tours are approximately one hour and are conducted by trained volunteer docents. For additional information about touring the historic Shook-Smathers House contact the Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society. The property is available year around for special events and group tours.
The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts
The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts at the Shelton House is located on Shelton Street in Waynesville, NC. The Shelton House, built in 1875, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts features various exhibits of 19th century crafts including items such as traditional quilts, hand crafted instruments, pottery, furniture and a collection of Native American artifacts. Additional information is available on the Shelton House website.
The Performing Arts Center at the Shelton House is home to HART, the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre. HART was founded in 1985 and serves as a volunteer-based community theatre showcasing the talents of the local community. The Performing Arts Center opened in 1997 through the support of the community.