Our History

The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum was founded in 1982 by Mintie Willson and Muriel Mayfield. We first opened our doors in the Old College building on the Tennessee Wesleyan University (then College) campus. As our collection grew, we had the opportunity to move to the East Wing of the former McMinn County High School in 1989, where the Museum remains today.

The Living Heritage Museum offers a unique collection of over 12,000 artifacts with 30 permanent exhibit spaces and quarterly rotating exhibits throughout the year. Our exhibits trace a storyline that dates from the 1700s to the present. The museum also offers special events and educational programs throughout the year.

Our Mission and Vision

Our mission is to steward the history and heritage of McMinn County and the region. This mission is met by collecting, preserving, and interpreting artifacts, artwork, and other items representative of our community’s culture, both past and present. Meeting this mission offers education and enrichment for the public and visitors of all ages, races, and ethnicities.

The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum works to preserve our community’s distinctive history, share its rich heritage, and celebrate its unique culture for the education and enrichment of the public and all visitors.

Annual Events and Fundraisers

The Museum has several events throughout the year to support our mission. The Museum Guild, led by a group of volunteers, hosts two annual fundraisers: Trash and Treasure (April) and Holiday House (November) The Heritage Quilt Guild also presents an annual Quilt Show (October) to showcase the history and extraordinary talent of local quilters. These popular events give the local community the opportunity to directly support the Museum.