CTAHLEQUAH, Okla., - Cherokee Nation officials today put out a ‘call for artifacts’ to showcase in the Cherokee National Prison that best represents its history and legacy as restoration is set to begin in early May. The overall project will include restoration of the prison structure, outside interpretative areas such as blacksmith shop and gallows, as well as establishing a National Prison Welcome Center and Museum. The Cherokee National Prison is located at Choctaw St. and Water Ave., Tahlequah, OK 74464.
Originally completed in 1875, the Cherokee National Prison was one of the first correctional facilities in Indian Territory and was the only penitentiary building in the entire Territory from 1875 to 1901. The building is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The restoration of the property will take place in two phases beginning with controlling moisture problems through the foundation, basement and walls, as well as taking the exterior structure back to its era of significance. The interior restoration will preserve as much historic fabric as possible, while preparing the structure for an interpretive center. Phase two will have an emphasis on landscaping, fencing and parking among other projects.
“One of our biggest resources when it comes to artifacts is the Cherokee people, who have passed these authentic pieces from generation to generation,” said David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which manages the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group. “And with this call for artifacts we appeal not only to the Cherokee people but to all residents across the country to loan or permanently share their historic Cherokee pieces with the general public that come to visit the museum from around the world.”
The Cherokee National Prison will allow visitors to experience the history of crime and punishment in the Cherokee Nation as well as reliving the infamous Cherokee outlaw stories.
Once opened, the Cherokee National Prison will be the second Cherokee Nation wholly owned and operated museum following the recent dedication of the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum.
The Cherokee Nation realized the significance of the many historical sites and landmarks for the cultural tourism program and made a commitment to the preservation of four key locations including the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, the Cherokee National Prison, the Cherokee National Capitol Building and Ross Cemetery.
All artifacts permanently donated or provided on loan to the Cherokee National Prison 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 generous donation and commitment to the preservation efforts of Cherokee Nation history.
Individuals, families and corporations that would like to permanently donate or provide on loan artifacts can contact Catherine Foreman Gray, archival and interpretive specialist at Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, at (918) 384-5946 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group
The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group is managed by Cherokee Nation Entertainment and was created in 2007 to promote the story of the Cherokee people. Efforts by the Cherokee Nation include developing guided community and educational tours, creating tourism partnerships and programs throughout northeastern Oklahoma, and launching a new Cherokee tourism-specific web site. For more information, please visit http://www.cherokeetourismok.com.
About Cherokee Nation Entertainment
Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Nation Entertainment operates the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, five Cherokee Casinos, Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, three hotels, two golf courses and many other retail operations in northeastern Oklahoma. For more information, please visit http://www.cherokeestarrewards.com.
About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign operating government of the Cherokee people. It is a federally recognized tribe of more than 280,000 Cherokee citizens, with its capitol located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Employing more than 6,500 people, Cherokee Nation’s annual economic impact in Oklahoma and surrounding areas is more than $1 billion. To learn more, please visit http://www.cherokee.org.