News Release

Nevada Indian Commission

The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum announced today it is reopening to the public on Tuesday, January 19, the day after the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Day.

“We are excited to reopen to the public and share our wonderful exhibitions,” said Bobbi Rahder, Museum Director. “We are following Governor Sisolak’s directive of requiring face coverings, use of hand sanitizer, and social distancing as we keep our visitors, volunteers, Stewart alumni, and staff healthy and safe.”

First opened in 1890, Stewart Indian School was operated by the federal government for 90 years before it closed in 1980. Stewart and other boarding schools across the nation, were initially set up to forcefully educate Native American children in the late 1800s. This assimilation policy impacted thousands of Native students not only from the Great Basin tribal nations, but over 200 Tribal Nations over the school’s 90-year history.

The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum opened on January 13, 2020 in what was once the school’s administrative building.

In addition to “Our Home, Our Relations,” a permanent exhibition that depicts the students’ boarding school experiences, the Cultural Center & Museum features the Wa-Pai-Shone Gallery of contemporary Great Basin Native art, the Storytelling Room for storytelling and craft making, a research room where relatives can research their family members who attended Stewart, and classroom space for educational activities, lectures, and public programs.

Recently, the museum has produced Stewart memorabilia for sale as a fundraiser, to offset state budget cuts. A list of items including t-shirts, hoodies, cups, water bottles, lanyards, tote bags, and ornaments can be found on the museum’s website at www.StewartIndianSchool.com. Items can be purchased through cash or check, but not by credit card.

The museum’s hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on weekends, and state and federal holidays. The museum is not conducting any group tours at this time.

In addition, the public can still use the self-guided cellphone audio tour to explore the historic campus. This walking tour allows guests to view the spectacular stone buildings flanked by the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, and to learn from alumni about their experiences at the boarding school. These firsthand accounts are also available at: https://stewartindianschool.com/walking-trail/.

For more information, please contact Bobbi Rahder, Museum Director, at 775-687-7606 or e-mail at brahder@nic.nv.gov.

About Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum

The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum is part of the Nevada Indian Commission, a Nevada state agency. Long a dream of alumni and tribal leaders – the museum opened on Monday, January 13, 2020. Located at 1 Jacobsen Way, in Carson City, Nev., the Cultural Center & Museum occupies what was once the school’s administrative building. With vital backing from Nevada Governors Brian Sandoval and Steve Sislolak, and $4.5 million in funding from the Nevada Legislature, the Cultural Center & Museum provides a place for healing for thousands of American Indians affected by federal boarding schools such as Stewart. The cultural center shares with the public first-hand accounts of the Native American students, and how these federal policies still reverberate in Native communities. In addition to the permanent exhibition, “Our Home, Our Relations,” the Cultural Center & Museum features the Wa-Pai-Shone Gallery, displaying art of the Great Basin Native Artists; the Storytelling Room for storytelling and craft making; a research room where relatives can research their family members who attended Stewart; and classroom space for educational activities, lectures, and public programs.

About Nevada Indian Commission

The Nevada Indian Commission (NIC) serves approximately 22,000 citizens of 27 federally recognized Tribal Nations, plus an additional 50,000 self-identified Native Americans who make the Silver State their home. Nevada’s Native American communities vary greatly in their respective languages, songs, traditional foods, and Indigenous territories. Created by statute in 1965 to “study matters affecting the social and economic welfare and well-being of American Indians residing in Nevada,” the Commission effectively serves as a liaison between the State and our Tribal communities and citizens. 

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