The Major Ridge Home was transformed into a museum in 1971. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and since 1973 has been further honored as a National Historic Landmark. There are forty-five such sites in Georgia and only seven north of Atlanta. Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home is owned by the Junior Service League of Rome, Inc. and operated by Friends of Chieftains, Inc. which is committed to telling the story of the house while preserving the site for future generations.
On October 29th, 2002 Chieftains Museum announced its participation with the National Park Service as a site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. At that time we also officially changed our name to Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home and announced the revised mission statement above. These changes reflect our strengthened commitment to presenting and preserving Cherokee history and culture.
At the core of the house is a two-story “dogtrot” log cabin that once served as the home of prominent Cherokee leader Major Ridge and his family. The house has grown significantly since Ridge’s departure and important examples of Northwest Georgia architecture can be seen in the various additions to the structure. It is the connection with the Cherokees, however, that gives the site a prominent position in America’s history.
Today Chieftains Museum / Major Ridge Home is open to the public as a historic site and interpretive museum for a nominal charge thirty-five hours per week. The museum presents interpretive exhibits (permanent and temporary), educational programs, and special events that pertain to the Ridge family and Cherokee history and culture.