Faculty, staff and students get free admission to Cherokee museum, other discounts

WCU students, faculty and staff can purchase discounted tickets to the “Unto These Hills” performance in Cherokee.

With “Cherokee: Community. Culture. Connections.” recently selected as Western Carolina University’s campus learning theme for the 2017-18 academic year, it just got a little easier for faculty, staff and students to immerse themselves in the Cherokee culture.

Now through May of 2018, WCU faculty, staff and students can obtain free admission into the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, located in Cherokee, by presenting their CatCard. In addition, discounts are being offered for admission to the Oconaluftee Indian Village and outdoor drama presentation of “Unto These Hills” for faculty, staff and students who purchase their tickets through WCU’s Cherokee Center.

WCU students, faculty and staff and gain free admission to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian by showing their CatCard.

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian vividly chronicles the 11,000-year-old Cherokee story, providing both a cultural and historical tour. It features interactive video and intriguing displays.

The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May. From June through August, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

For those wishing to visit the Indian Village, general admission tickets can be purchased for $5. Tickets for “Unto These Hills” are $12.

“I’ve had groups already booking,” said Sky Sampson, director of the Cherokee Center. Sampson, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, was instrumental in brokering the free admission to the museum and discounted rates to the Indian Village and “Unto These Hills.”

The Indian Village is a living history museum set on a mountainside in Cherokee. A guided tour will take you through a craft line to see how baskets, arrowheads, pottery and other items were made. There are opportunities to speak with natives about the Cherokee culture, listen to lectures and see replica housing from different time periods in Cherokee history. There is also an outside walking tour.

The village will be open from April 18 to Nov. 11. Its hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tours beginning every 15 minutes, except from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“Unto These Hills” will begin its 67th season when it opens June 3 and runs through Aug. 19 at the newly renovated Cherokee Mountainside Theatre. The show begins at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

It is one of the longest-running and most beloved outdoor dramas in the country, entertaining more than six million people. This year’s performance will feature the original Kermit Hunter version of “Unto These Hills,” telling the Cherokees’ rich story from 1780 to the 21st century.

For more information on obtaining discounted tickets, contact Sampson at snsampson@wcu.edu or 828-497-7920.