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Putting out the call

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Stories are told through visual interpretation and the Cherokee Nation will convey its history through artifacts permanently secured or provided on loan for display at the soon-to-be opened Cherokee National Supreme Court Building Museum with phase one renovations scheduled to be completed the first week in July. This venture will be the Cherokee Nation’s first wholly owned and operated museum.

As the exterior details are being finalized, the Cherokee Nation is putting out a call for artifacts in three historic areas including the Cherokee National Judicial System, the Cherokee Advocate and Phoenix Newspapers and the Cherokee Language with a request for items ranging from photos, stories and objects to furniture, periodicals and memorabilia. The artifacts will visually communicate the ability of the Cherokee Nation to survive, adapt, prosper and excel.

The newly designed museum will showcase articles from the past and present that are indigenous to the Cherokee Nation and express the passion of its people for self-governance. Some highly desired items relate to the Cherokee Advocate, which was printed in the Cherokee National Supreme Court Building. Written in Cherokee and English, the Advocate was the primary means for the nation to inform its people from 1844 to 1906. It was Oklahoma’s first newspaper and, at the time, the only tribally-owned and published newspaper in the United States.

“We hope to reach as many people as possible with this formal call for artifacts,” said David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which manages the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Department. “The physical display of these historic items will assist in conveying to the Cherokee people and visitors to the museum the tremendous accomplishments and lasting legacy of the Cherokee Nation government and its people.”

All artifacts permanently donated or provided on loan will be cataloged and processed following museum standard guidelines. Each piece will have the benefactor’s name posted near the respective display in recognition of the donation and commitment to the preservation efforts of Cherokee Nation history.

Individuals, families and corporations can make artifact donations by contacting Travis Owens, senior project manager at Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, at (918) 384-5929 or e-mail at travis.owens@cnent.com.

Southwest Museum Services in Houston is designing and fabricating the interior museum space to create an engaging and interactive guest experience. Past clients include Space Center Houston in Houston, Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, and the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, Ark., among others.

The Cherokee National Supreme Court Building, built in 1844, is Oklahoma’s oldest public building and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.