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March 2011

North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, NC, Features Historical Exhibition

The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, NC, is presenting, Emissaries of Peace: The Cherokee and British Delegations of 1762, a historical exhibit of a British officer’s journey to a Cherokee village, on view through May 15, 2011.

After battles, towns set ablaze, ambushes and bloody massacres, the Cherokee and British were on the brink of treaty in November 1761, but one condition remained. The Cherokee warriors gathered at Fort Robinson asked that a British emissary return with them to their village as a gesture of goodwill. This exhibit chronicles the story of that visit, taken by officer and journalist, Henry Timberlake.

Emissaries of Peace, brings Henry Timberlake’s memoirs to life through artifacts, archaeological treasures, period artwork, music, video, and life size figures. Timberlake, a junior officer, volunteered to accompany the Cherokee back to the Overhill towns after the British officer in charge deemed the mission too perilous to assign. The young Timberlake, along with another officer, an interpreter and a servant, set out on the journey by canoe on November 28, 1761.

Visitors to the exhibit will experience two contrasting cultures emerging from war and navigating the path toward peace. From the council houses of the Cherokees to the pleasure houses of London, Emissaries of Peace provides a look at Cherokee and English society of the mid-18th century, each viewed through the eyes of the other.

The exhibit was originally produced by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian for the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian. It is the only traveling exhibition produced by members of an American Indian tribe. The exhibition received the presidential “We the People” exhibit designation because of its excellence in telling the story of American history.

To broaden the visitor experience, an exhibit called Corn, Beans & Squash explores the agriculture practices of the Cherokee and neighboring tribes of the Creek Confederacy. The exhibit, designed and produced by the Arboretum, features a seasonally appropriate garden of the late 1700s and displays native plants used for food. Examples of a Cherokee summer home and corn grinder, as well as a diorama of a village provide visitors a glimpse of life for the Cherokee.

The exhibit is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, First Citizens Bank, Harrah’s Foundation, the Cannon Foundation, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Exhibition support at the Arboretum is provided in part by The North Carolina Arboretum’s Community Partner, Smoky Mountain Living.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Arboretum at 828/665-2492 or visit (

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