Cherokee National History Museum Now Open in Tahlequah

Aug 8, 2019

The Cherokee Nation celebrated Thursday the opening of their new national museum.

The Cherokee National History Museum features 4,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space and 1,000 square feet of rotating space in the Cherokee Nation Capitol Building.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker said his grandmother used to tell him how the building looked when she was a girl, complete with a cupola the tribe built a replica of in 2013.

"I don’t know if it was my vision or my grandmother’s vision that it is where it is today. That’s one of the things that I told myself, that we would have the cupola on top of the building before I left office," Baker said.

The tribe renovated the entire building over the years.

The museum has artifacts from the Smithsonian, Gilcrease Museum and other institutions on display. Council of the Cherokee Nation Member Joe Byrd said the museum doesn’t end the tribe's story with the Trail of Tears.

"The space carries our narrative into the present, celebrating our art, our government, the process by which we educate our people, our ways of maintaining our faith, and our advances in business, and our commitment to preserve our language," Byrd said.

The museum also uses technology to add to the array of objects on display.

"Many exhibits offer an interactive, augmented reality through the use of iPads to provide an experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in culture, history and art," said Cherokee Nation Business Senior Vice President of Cultural Tourism Molly Jarvis.

The rotating exhibit space is showing works of Cherokee artist Cecil Dick through Jan. 31.

The Cherokee National History Museum is at 101 S Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah. It's open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.