What to see and doMuseums
Take a tour of our history!
Voted Top Small Outdoor Town
WHAT TO DO
Find The Past
Down Memory Lane Toy Museum
Jim & Sandy have been collecting toys for over 60 years. The collection consists of a large selection of Studebaker cars, trucks and military equipment. Sandy’s collection of construction equipment numbers about 200 pieces. There is a sizable collection of other toys, dolls and doll accessories, pedal cars and more. Visit us at the Cowee School Arts and Heritage Center. Click on the link for hours.
The Franklin Gem & Mineral Museum
Located in Franklin’s historic “Old Jail” on Phillips Street across from the Macon County Courthouse, the Franklin Gem & Mineral Museum has thousands of specimens on display including a local ruby weighing 2 ¼ pounds! The museum was founded in 1974. There are six rooms dedicated to the cataloging and preservation of gem and mineral specimens from around the world as well as those found in North Carolina and of course Macon County – home to the famous Cowee Valley where rubies and sapphires have been found for over 100 years! Admission is Free. Open May – October.
Macon County Historical Museum
The Macon County Historical Museum on Main Street in downtown Franklin is housed in the J.R. Pendergrass building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is an excellent and little altered example of early twentieth century retail store design. The Macon County’s rich mountain heritage for visitors and residents alike. The centerpiece of the Society’s collection is the building itself, complemented by original fixtures from the old store and a fascinating variety of artifacts and photographs illustrating Macon County’s past. Admission is free. Visitors are always welcome and conducted group tours can be arranged on request. Open year round.
Ruby City Gem Museum
This free museum located in downtown Franklin has specimens, artifacts, ivory carvings, rare gems, and more. You can see hundreds of spheres handmade from different types of stone by the founder of the store. “The World’s Largest Sapphire” weighing 385 pounds as well as one of the largest gem quality rubies found in the area (162 carats) are on display. Be sure to see an authentic shrunken head, an extensive pre-columbian artifacts section, a section of local arrowheads and tools! The black-light section is a must see. The museum is completely free to the public and cameras are welcome. Open March 1 – January 15 Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. January 16 – April 30 open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10 am – 5 pm.
Scottish Tartans Museum
This museum is the only one of its kind in the United States. A direct extension of the Scottish Tartans Society in Scotland, the museum not only displays Scottish Tartans, but covers various aspects of the Scottish experience—culture, history, dress, migration and military. Visitors are invited to view their family tartan, connect with their clan, and learn about the history of Highland Dress. The museum is located in downtown Franklin complete with gift shop featuring tartan wear, Highland dress items, Admission $2 adults, Children 12 to 6 are $1, Children under 6 are free.. Open year round, Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Let your next Adventure begin with a visit to Wilderness Taxidermy located on Highlands Road in Franklin. Their state of the art wildlife museum houses a collection of animals from throughout the world. The studio which has recently been expanded to over 6,000 square feet, includes a work area, wildlife art gallery, and impressive wildlife museum. Do not miss your opportunity to see quality taxidermy in a beautiful setting. The facility is open every day except Wednesday and Sunday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
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Franklin Tourism Development Commission