#26 of 26 Boone Things To Do

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum – Experience Time Travel on the Outskirts of Boone
Staff Score:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you want to go back to a much simpler time, treat yourself to a trip to the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum. Set in the beautiful High Country, this museum lets you explore six historic cabins filled with ancient artifacts. Historic interpreters add to the magic, so you can see just how the early mountain settlers lived day after day.  

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Do you want to see what life was like in the High Country back in 1785 to 1805? All you have to do is come take a trip down to the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum. Set on the outskirts of Boone, this fascinating museum gives you a chance to explore six historic cabins at your leisure. Each cabin has all its original furnishings and other artifacts, giving you a glimpse into the past.

All six cabins were donated to the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and moved to their site soon after. Most of their artifacts are reproductions as well, although they were faithfully made to match the originals.

To make each scene even more real, historic interpreters play out the daily lives of early mountain settlers. With their period-correct clothing and commitment to completing household chores, the interpreters breathe life into the museum, so all the guests can learn about their colonial ancestors.

Self-sufficiency was the name of the game back then, too, ensuring you’ll see interesting activities like spinning, blacksmithing, and candle making. You’ll often get to see the interpreters making food on the hearth as well. Want to recreate the recipes they’re making during your visit? Go to the gift shop for a cookbook or two.

You can either enjoy the museum by taking a self-guided tour or get the full experience with a guided tour. If you’d like a guide to offer insights while you walk around, then you’ll need to stop by early in the day during the summer months. Self-guided tours happen in the late afternoon to evening hours. The tour hours change in the fall, so be sure to give them a call if you’re set on one experience over the other.

Their most popular gift shop items are:

Mary Bohlen’s Heritage Cookbook
If you find open hearth cooking wholly interesting, get Mary Bohlen’s Heritage Cooking for your bookshelf. In this book, you’ll find over 90 awesome colonial recipes perfect for making on an open hearth – or even on your stovetop. If you like camping, this is a book you’ll want to have by your side whenever you go into the great outdoors.

60 Years of Horn in the West
Are you a history buff? Get the 60 Years of Horn in the West while visiting the gift shop. As you read through this book, you’ll get to learn all about the rich history of the Revolutionary War outdoor drama. Personal stories color the narrative even more while historical photographs bring everything together.

Tatum Cabin Notecards
Do you want to add style and flash to every card you send? Just get the Tatum Cabin Notecards. On the front is a beautiful replica of the cabin style Daniel Boone likely lived in plus a nice message telling your recipients where you got the cards. Inside is plenty of space for you to write out your own notes before sending the card in their included envelope.

If you’d like to go beyond the simple museum explorations, plan your visit to align with their special events. All throughout the year, they host reenactments, educational workshops, and festivals galore. At these events, you can watch the British Occupation of Hickory Ridge, learn how to make colonial medicine, hear the story of Kings Mountain, and so much more.

Insider Tips:
-You must stop by the gift shop first to buy your museum admission tickets. To find it, go past the ticket office for the Horn in the West outdoor drama and down the hill beyond.
-On Wednesdays, they give locals a discount on tickets with proof of residency.
-Their hillside setting is not wheelchair accessible and can prove difficult to navigate for people who use walkers and other mobility aids.
-You’re welcome to bring your well-behaved, leashed dog on the tour. Just be sure to clean up after them while on their grounds.