The mountains around Spruce Pine, North Carolina, are among the most mineral and gem-rich in the country. The Museum of North Carolina Minerals, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, houses over 300 kinds. Because of the popularity of the Parkway, this museum may expose more people to minerals and gems than any other institution in the country.
The Museum of North Carolina Minerals contains interactive displays about the minerals and jewels discovered in the area, as well as the mining industry's historical relevance to the local economy.
The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce has a tourist center within the Museum that provides information on area companies, activities, hotels, cuisine, and more. The museum has a gift store with souvenirs and publications about Western North Carolina.
Gillespie Gap, a significant halt for Revolutionary War combatants on their way to the Battle of Kings Mountain, is home to the Museum. Every September, the Museum stages a re-enactment of the Overmountain Men, largely Scots-Irish immigrants from Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina who came "over the mountains" and eventually destroyed Cornwallis' army's left flank at Kings Mountain, South Carolina. Many historians regard this victory as a watershed moment in the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign.