Georgia’s official frontier and Southeastern Indian interpretive center, The Funk Heritage Center, is the best spot to learn about Native Americans and Appalachian settlers in the 1800s. Guided tours require group reservations. But here are eight reasons families should visit for self-guided exploration.

Hall of the Ancients

Dioramas show more than 12,000 years of regional history including how Native Americans used their environment for food and clothing. The “History Beneath Our Feet” exhibit explains archaeology. Also, artifacts are displayed from the Cherokee History Log district near the Etowah River. Children can touch items like real fur pelts and read books about American Indians and pioneers.

The Petroglyph

The centerpiece of the Hall of Ancients is a five-ton boulder covered with mysterious carvings. The petroglyph is 11 feet long and four feet wide, with concentric circles, crosses and other symbols displayed on its surface. This rock was originally part of a group of three slabs, but the other two were destroyed because people believed they would find buried treasure underneath them.

Cool Tools

The Sellars Gallery of Historic Hand Tools features a one-of-a-kind collection of tools. These bits of history were used by people long ago to build and make things out of wood and other natural materials. Some of these tools are no longer used in society, so they represent a sort of time capsule.

American Indian Artifacts

The Bennett History Museum houses a large collection of artifacts representing the American Indian cultures before the European arrival in the Southeast. Here you’ll see projectile points, atalatyl weights, chunky stones and pottery shards.

Gallery of Contemporary Indian Art

See American Indian-made baskets, sculpture, paintings and poetry. Many items, including pottery, were made by descendants of Southeastern Indians.

Appalachian Settlement

Go back in time! Visit an accurate representation of an original Appalachian settlement, with two 1840s log cabins, a syrup mill and a blacksmith shop. Cabins are only open when scheduled for group tours or school field trips.

The Xeriscape

This section houses plants and trees that need little water to survive. Learn about native plants and how Native Americans and early settlers used them.

Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Shopping

Groups must reserve guided tours. But families can visit for self-guided exploration. To start, watch the award-winning short film about the history of the Southeastern Indians. Then, take a scavenger hunt brochure for kids to use in the museum. Before heading home, shop for Native American art, music and jewelry, rocks and minerals, and old-fashioned candy.

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