It was easy for the people from the Highlands of Scotland to find a home in the Smoky Mountains. They found in the Smokies a place that resembled home, a place that looked like the land they had left. The Scottish and the Irish that live din other parts of the former British Colonies made the move to the Smokies as well. As the communities in the Smokies formed, these people shared there past, their heritage and their cultures with others, with their new neighbors. In Franklin, North Carolina, there is a quaint museum that celebrates the Scottish heritage of the Smokies like no other. The Scottish Tartan Museum tells the history of a people by telling the history of the Tartan.
Tartan is the fabric that not only is used in the manufacture of the traditional kilt but it is an identifier for the various Scottish Clans that exist. The museum was formed out of the Scottish Tartan Society which started in Scotland in 1963. The museum is a tribute to this unique fabric. From pieces of tartan that are decades old, to representations of the way that kilts are made and worn this is one of the best niche museums that you will ever encounter. It is well maintained and curated, the pieces have been lovingly collected and there is a story, well told, to go with each piece.
And after you get out of the museum, if you are really feeling the Scottish vibe then you can go through their gift shop and pick up a piece of Scotland to take home. From bumper stickers with the Scottish fag to your very own kilt this gift shop has everything – everything Scottish. Music to books, t-shirts to food stuffs, there is a little something for everybody and it is worth the time just to stop by the gift shop if you don’t have time to walk through their museum.
Next time you visit the North Carolina side of the Smokies, stop by Franklin. Head to downtown Franklin, literally, their original downtown. Their downtown is very much like the downtown that you might have encountered in the 50s. Small shops and cafes on the street, you park right in front of them and walk inside. The Scottish Tartan Museum is no different. It is located right at the dge of downtown. Park in front and go right in. The museum is located downstairs on the left as you go in, but when you walk through the doors you are in the middle of their gift shop.
Take the family into the Scottish Tartan Museum, and learn a lot more about the people that founded most of the towns around the Smokies. Learn about the Scottish people that moved into the area through the vehicle of the fabric they used to make a very unique piece of clothing called the kilt. Walk through a museum dedicated to a fabric, a people and a lifestyle. Visit Franklin, and step into the Highlands. Who knows maybe you will leave with a kilt around your waist and smile on your face.
Scottish Tartan Museum
86 E Main St