TAHLEQUAH – A planned Dec. 1 opening for the Cherokee Nation’s new home for historic documents and cultural artifacts has been postponed due to “potential COVID-19 exposure on site,” according to the tribe’s business arm.

The one-of-a-kind collection has over time been moved from the Cherokee Heritage Center to Cherokee Springs Plaza.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the proposed ribbon cutting for the Cherokee National Research Center has been voluntarily cancelled due to a potential COVID-19 exposure on site,” Cherokee Nation Businesses Communications Director Brandon Scott said in a statement. “This event will be rescheduled at a later date.”

The archives represent the 1700s through present day. It was previously housed at the Heritage Center, but was moved due to aging infrastructure and the need for updated environmental controls. The Tribal Council declared a state of emergency for the tribal archives after the CN took ownership of the Heritage Center property in 2020.

The new location, called the Cherokee National Research Center, is intended to provide safe and secure storage for historic Cherokee-related documents while enhancing public access to significant tribal records. The center features a 5,000-square-foot, fireproof and storm-resistant vault with industry-leading environmental controls, as well as two research rooms for artists, scholars and community members.