Cherokee National History Museum extends Cecil Dick exhibit

01/20/2020 12:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The exhibit “Cecil Dick: Father of Cherokee Art” will run to March 14 at the Cherokee National History Museum in Tahlequah. It was originally scheduled to run until Jan. 31. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee National History Museum is extending its first temporary exhibit due to its overwhelming popularity. Originally planned to end on Jan. 31, the exhibit will remain open to the public through March 14. 

“Cecil Dick: Father of Cherokee Art” pays tribute to Cherokee Nation citizen Cecil Dick, who is known for his contributions to Native art and his tribe. The exhibit highlights Dick’s life, from his early days in Oklahoma to his time spent in boarding schools learning and refining his artistic abilities, leading to his life as an artist and professional. 

The exhibit features information about his life and showcases some of his original woodlands style of painting, including a rare oil painting, large-scale murals and the silver Sequoyah Medal he received from the CN in 1983.  

Dick was born in Oklahoma in 1915 to a traditional Cherokee home. When he became an orphan, he was sent to boarding schools where he had to learn English. In 1932, the superintendent of his boarding school noticed Dick’s artistic abilities and arranged for him to attend the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The students in the program were taught to paint in the flat painting style popular with Plains Indian tribes: a two-dimensional foreground with an empty or plain background.  

Having grown up in a traditional Cherokee home, Dick knew all of the stories about animals and plants, so he chose to paint in his unique woodlands style with elaborate backgrounds. Cecil Dick painted and did illustrations up until his death in 1993. He is known as the father of Cherokee art. 

The Cherokee National History Museum shares the history and culture of the CN within 4,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space that features Cherokee lifestyle from pre-European contact through the Trail of Tears and the revitalization of the tribe after the American Civil War. 

The museum is located in the Cherokee National Capitol building, which was built in 1869 and housed the tribe’s executive, legislative and judicial offices until 1906. Most recently, it was home to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court until fall 2018. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated a National Landmark. 

It’s located at 101 S. Muskogee Ave., and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, For information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit


Multimedia Reporter
10/16/2020 09:19 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program has been an outlet for lea...

10/15/2020 09:02 AM
The exhibit opened Oc...

10/14/2020 08:21 AM
Cherokee author Traci Sorell’s award-wi...

10/13/2020 10:22 AM
The virtual market is exp...

Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
10/02/2020 12:47 PM
Cherokee author Traci Sorell’s book tells o...

10/02/2020 12:31 PM
The Cherokee Nation’s documenta...