Cherokee Nation museum fees to be shelved in spring
Patrons of the Cherokee National History Museum in Tahlequah, along with other Cherokee Nation museums, will no longer be charged admission fees beginning this spring, Cherokee Nation Businesses said. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Admission fees at Cherokee Nation museums will be a thing of the past this spring, said Cherokee Nation Businesses’ senior vice president.
“Our museums have always been free to Cherokee (Nation) citizens,” Molly Jarvis told Tribal Councilors at their Jan. 30 Culture Committee meeting. “Then we have had special days during the (Cherokee National) Holiday or other times of the year where we open them free to everyone. But starting this spring, the museums will be free of charge to everyone.”
An exception, Jarvis added, could apply to large group tours that require a guide.
Current admission fees for non-CN citizens range from $6-$8 at the Cherokee National History Museum in Tahlequah; $3-$5 at Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum in Sallisaw, Cherokee National Prison Museum and Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, both in Tahlequah; and $2-$3 at the John Ross Museum in Park Hill.
Jarvis said CNB revamped its tourism branding campaign in August, coinciding with the opening of the Cherokee National History Museum, which is located downtown within the former Cherokee National Capitol Building.
“We refreshed the look and did a lot of promotion of that history museum through our social media channels,” she said. “So far, we’ve had more than 10,000 visitors through that history museum. So we’ve been very pleased with the traffic that has come through.”
Built in 1869 as the CN Capitol Building, it housed the tribe’s executive, legislative and judicial offices until 1906, and recently served as CN Supreme Court until 2018. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a national landmark. The CN invested an estimated $4.5 million into the site.
The John Ross Museum is currently closed for drainage system repairs.
“We were having some water issues really close to the building,” Jarvis said, “so we wanted to make sure we get that corrected so that no deterioration takes place. We want to make sure to continue to protect that property.”
The museum, located at 22366 S. 530 Road, features exhibits and interactive displays dedicated to the “life and leadership” of Ross, the CN principal chief from 1828 until his death in 1866.
Jarvis also touched on restoration efforts and a planned museum at the historic Saline District Courthouse in Delaware County.
“All of the construction work is complete there,” she said. “We do have our caretaker on site. We are working to complete the exhibit for that property, and plan to have an official opening later this spring.”
The structure is the last remaining district courthouse built in Indian Territory in 1884. CNB helped restore the courthouse with freshly painted walls, a new lighting system, a fire suppression system, a new parking area and other modern conveniences.
A planned museum at the site will feature historical exhibits, art and cultural programming, officials said.