This natural history museum and planetarium dates back to 1961, when Rudolph Bud Schiele worked with local residents to create a small museum for his vast personal collection of specimens he had collected throughout his life. Schiele passed away in 1974, but his museum and collection have grown substantially. In addition to special exhibits, the museum offers several a permanent galleries that feature animal specimens that are native to North Carolina, North America, and species that roamed the earth during the prehistoric era. The museum places a special emphasis on the relation between the Native American inhabitants of the region and the natural habitat of North Carolina before and after contact with humans from the Old World of Europe, Asia, and Africa. One of the highlights of the museum, the Catawba Indian Village, is open seasonally. There are also numerous outdoor exhibits and a nature trail.