The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts was founded in 1977 by dynamic Haywood county extension agent, Mary Cornwell. Mary was also Director of the Village of Yesteryear, a cultural exhibit featuring 100 crafters at the North Carolina State Fair. Mary’s vision was to establish a repository at the historic Shelton House to preserve and display traditional crafts created by the state’s most renowned artisans.
Today, throughout the museum, period furnishings and antiques compliment exhibits of folk art, and collections of pottery, wood carving, basketry, metalwork, weaving, quilting, marquetry and other fine crafts.
Our purpose is to continually enhance the collection. We have items that date back to the mid 1700’s, but it is essential that the crafts of days gone by are displayed with those of today.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Charleston style farmhouse was built in 1875 for Stephen Jehu Shelton, a civil war veteran and Haywood County sheriff. Local woodworkers used walnut trees located on the property to craft the home’s fireplace mantles, stairway baluster, doors, as well as a bed, shaving stand and a magnificent wardrobe.
One son, Will Taylor Shelton worked with Cherokee and later Navajo Indians teaching them agricultural skills, helping them become more independent. Prior to his retirement, Will purchased the family home from his father and when he and wife Hattie moved back to Waynesville in 1916, they brought with them an extensive collection of Native American artifacts and crafts — many of which remain in the house.
Become a member of the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts –help preserve our rich traditions and cultural heritage.
Open May–October, Tuesday-Saturday 10am–4pm.
Call 828.452.1551 for information. The museum is on the corner of Shelton and Pigeon Streets (Hwy 276) south of Main Street in Waynesville, NC.