Cherokee Nation postpones opening cultural tourism sites

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/09/2020 10:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The July 15 opening of the Cherokee National History Museum in Tahlequah has been postponed, according to a July 7 announcement by Cherokee Nation officials. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – According to a July 7 announcement, Cherokee Nation officials are postponing the planned reopening of its cultural tourism sites, originally slated to begin on July 15.

In coordination with the tribe’s phased reopening plans and the recently announced delay of phase three, all tribal museums, welcome centers, retail operations and the Cherokee Heritage Center are slated to begin reopening in August.

“We remain committed to the health and welfare of our employees, guests and the communities we serve,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “These are unprecedented times and we must continue to strategically adapt our plans as conditions warrant. We look forward to safely reopening these sites in the near future.”

According to a June 19 announcement, the previous reopening plan was expected to occur in three phases. Phase 1 was slated for July 15 and consisted of the Cherokee National History Museum, Tahlequah Gift Shop and Cherokee Heritage Center. Phase was slated for July 22 and consisted of the Cherokee National Prison Museum, Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum and Cherokee Gift Shop inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Phase 3, which was set for July 29, consisted of the John Ross Museum, Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum and welcome centers in Kansas and Catoosa.

In addition, the plans included opening the recently restored Saline Courthouse in Delaware County with a grand opening ceremony to be held later this year. 

Despite the delayed openings, Cherokee Nation Gift Shops will resume online operations on July 13 as planned, officials said.

With the CHC’s July 15 reopening now pushed back, the July 7 announcement did not mention the 49th annual Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale, the longest-running Native American art show and competition in Oklahoma. The juried show was previously slated to run from July 15 to Aug. 4 featuring painting, sculpture, pottery, basketry, graphics, diverse art forms, jewelry, miniatures and photography/digital art.

According to the July 7 announcement, once reopened, each site will implement safety procedures, including physical distancing, limited occupancy, enhanced cleaning and sanitization, and required use of face masks by all. Hours of operation will vary by location and can be found at www.VisitCherokeeNation.com

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