TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Businesses is beginning work on a temporary new home for the Nation’s foremost collection of historic Cherokee-related documents and cultural artifacts from the 1700s through present day.
Historically housed at the Cherokee Heritage Center, the items were recently declared in a state of emergency by the Council of the Cherokee Nation due to aging infrastructure and the need for updated environmental controls necessary for proper preservation.
“Responsible stewardship of our tribe’s irreplaceable artifacts means we must invest in world-class archival conservation measures,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr said. “We are taking these important, strategic steps in order to ensure long-term preservation. As we continue long-range planning for the Cherokee Heritage Center, we can properly house these rare and historic objects until they are ready to return to their permanent home.”
The Cherokee National Research Center will open late summer 2021 at Cherokee Springs Plaza to provide safe and secure storage that also enhances public access. The center will feature a 5,000-square-foot, fireproof and storm-resistant vault with industry-leading environmental controls, as well as two research rooms for artists, scholars and community members. It will also include a public genealogy center with access to research materials and support from genealogy staff by appointment.
Located in the heart of Cherokee Nation in Park Hill, the heritage center has worked to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture for nearly 60 years. In addition to its dynamic educational programs and compelling exhibits, it is also home to two outdoor interactive exhibits.
While CHC remains closed to the public at this time, the organization is working diligently on a new strategic plan for its long-term success and future growth.
“The items within the collections and archives belong to the Cherokee people, and this temporary facility will ensure that our citizens, alongside artists, scholars and community members, have better access to these treasures,” said Travis Owens, director of cultural tourism for Cherokee Nation. “The preservation and care of the collections and archives are our priority, and we look forward to the impact these items will have in helping shape and share our story for generations to come.”