Experience North Carolina Traditions

North Carolina is home to some of the nation’s richest traditional arts. Explore African American musical culture, Appalachian music and crafts, Cherokee arts and culture, Piedmont pottery, maritime traditions and more!

Celebrate North Carolina with a stop at one of the numerous heritage arts centers, library collections, festivals, arts centers and annual events that provide powerful glimpses into the unique character of our state. Share your NC Folklife experience on Instagram with the hashtag #NCFolklife.

Location Description
Harker’s Island, N.C. Core Sound Waterfowl Museum

Located on the Core Sound of Carteret County’s Outer Banks, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum documents the diverse communities of fishers, hunters, carvers, boatbuilders and their families through exhibits, demonstrations, festivals, performances and other public programs that trace coastal experience over the past 300 years. 

Greenville, N.C. East Carolina University’s Folklore Archive

This is a regional folklife collection with manuscript collections of field documentation, video and audiotapes, photographs, and other documentary forms. The range of folklife subjects is wide, with depth in folk medicine and material culture as well as verbal lore.

Warrenton, N.C. Heritage Quilters

The HERITAGE QUILTERS is a group of award-winning artisans whose stitched works have been displayed around the country. Organized in 2001, their love for the quilting arts has catapulted them to being recognized as a philanthropic organization that, with their skills and artistic vision, have allowed them to provide scholarships for area college-bound students, fund summer field trips, maintain a historic house in Warren County, North Carolina, and conduct Mathematics-based curriculum workshops for elementary-aged students.

Brasstown, N.C. John C. Campbell Folk School

The John C. Campbell Folks School offers classes in traditional and contemporary arts, craft, folk music, folk dance, gardening, nature studies, literature, and folklore. Through decades of documentation, research and fieldwork with traditional Appalachian culture bearers, the folk school offers radio programs, CDs, public presentations and publications.

Cullowhee, N.C. Mountain Heritage Center, Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University studies, documents, and interprets the culture and history of southern Appalachia and presents live traditional craft demonstrations and musical performances and publishes Appalachian-themed books and musical recordings.

Cherokee, N.C. Museum of the Cherokee Indian

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian represents the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, North Carolina’s federally recognized tribe. It documents and preserves Cherokee history, culture, and stories through permanent and changing exhibits, workshops, festivals, and special educational programs. The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is one of the most visited and successful tribal museums in the U.S.

Greensboro, N.C. NC Folk Festival (North Carolina Artisan Area)

Every year, the North Carolina Folk Festival celebrates the music, crafts, and storytelling traditions that are thriving in our state. Through performances, workshops, and artist demonstrations, the Festival shines a light on master artists from our region.

Seagrove, N.C. North Carolina Pottery Center

Opened in 1998 in Seagrove where pottery making has a 200-year history, the N.C. Pottery Center promotes awareness and appreciation of the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina through exhibitions, educational programs, collection and preservation.

Columbia, N.C. Pocosin Arts

Located on the banks of the Scuppernong River amid the natural beauty of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Pocosin Arts connects traditional arts to nature through interdisciplinary arts classes for adults and youth.

Cherokee, N.C. Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual

Considered one of the most outstanding Native American owned and operated craft cooperatives in America, Qualla Arts and Crafts was founded in 1946 and showcases the works of over 250 members. The gallery upholds a standard of excellence when it comes to the traditional arts and crafts of the Eastern Cherokee with baskets, pottery, wood and stone carving, beadwork, and more.

Robbinsville. N.C. Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center now offers over 20 programs to approximately 10,000 people annually. The Center brings music to the mountains through the summer performing arts series An Appalachian Evening, as well as the Annual Harvest Festival and other events. Additionally, the Stecoah Artisans Gallery provides sales promotion and support for local and regional artists.

Kenly, N.C. Tobacco Farm Life Museum

The Tobacco Farm Life Museum opened in 1983 by a group of local families who wanted to preserve the personal and special history of the Eastern North Carolina flu-cured tobacco farm family for future generations.

Wilson, N.C. Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park & Museum

The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park opened in downtown Wilson in November 2017 and features 30 whimsical and massive whirligigs created by local folk artist Vollis Simpson.