TAHLEQUAH — After years of work, the Cherokee National History Museum is finally open.
It is housed in a building that dates back to 1869.
It served as tribal government offices and was mainly home to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court in Tahlequah until they moved about 18 months ago.
Director of Culture Travis Owens says there are many things special and significant in the museum.
“In 1908, the Cherokees almost lost everything," Owens said. "A gentleman named Shorey Ross looked to the future and he was hoping this building could be preserved as a museum. Now open to the public."
Owens says he wanted to use different forms of art to tell the Cherokee story.
“What better way to tell the Cherokee story than through art," Owens said. "Our artists are some of the most precious caretakers of our culture and with their knowledge, we can bring our culture to life."
Cherokee citizen and artist Lisa Rutherford are what they call a national treasure.
She mainly does pottery, but she’s learned how to craft traditional clothing as well.
“I just gradually got into doing living history so I needed to be dressed out," Rutherford said. "I learned to make all these outfits for these various periods to interpret and it’s kind of grown from there."
Rutherford and Owens both hope the general public and Cherokee citizens will enjoy all their hard work.
“One of the best things about this museum it is completely integrated through Cherokee art and culture," Owens said. "Honestly our artists are some of our best storytellers have helped us to preserve that story and share it with the public."
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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