TAHLEQUAH, Okla.— The Cherokee National History Museum is celebrating the life and photography of Cherokee Nation citizen Jennie Ross Cobb in a new exhibit opening Oct. 13. Cobb was the great-granddaughter of Principal Chief John Ross and took up photography while she was a student at the Cherokee National Female Seminary in Tahlequah.
“Through the Lens: The Photographic Legacy of Jennie Ross Cobb” opens to the public on Oct. 13 at the Cherokee National History Museum.
The exhibit showcases Cobb’s work from 1896-1906 and reveals a glimpse of life in Indian Territory in the decade before Oklahoma statehood.
“At a time when photography as a hobby was just being introduced, Jennie Ross Cobb captured unique moments that are refreshingly relatable for their time,” said Krystan Moser, manager of cultural collections and exhibits for Cherokee Nation. “Her candid photos showcase what life was like for affluent Cherokees in the late 19th century, including young people eating watermelon on a hot summer day, female seminary students laughing at a joke we will never hear, and a young boy beaming with pride as he carries a dead turkey, presumably to be served for his family’s dinner.”
Among Cobb’s photographs are those of the historic Hunter’s Home, the only surviving antebellum plantation in Oklahoma, from the years her family lived there. She later served as the first curator of Hunter’s Home after it was purchased by the state for preservation, and her photos played a vital role in the home’s restoration and eventual use as a living history museum.
The Cherokee National History Museum is located in one of the tribe’s most iconic structures, the Cherokee National Capitol building. It housed Cherokee Nation’s executive, legislative and judicial offices until 1906 and was most recently home to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court until fall 2018.
The Cherokee National History Museum opened in 2019 and shares the history and culture of the Cherokee Nation within 4,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space that features Cherokee lifestyle from pre-European contact through the Trail of Tears and the revitalization of the tribe after the American Civil War. It is located at 101 S. Muskogee, Ave.
Cherokee Nation museums are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information on Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, including museum operations, please call (877) 779-6977 or visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.