OHCE Woodall Club visits Cherokee National History Museum

OHCE members tour the Cherokee National History Museum. From left are: Teresa Fleming, Ann Lamons, Rose Mary Philpot, Beth Corn, Fran Ridenhour, Eyvone York, and Shirley Jones. Not pictured is Tenisha Hess and Teddy Ridenhour.

The Oklahoma Home and Community Education Woodall Club toured the Cherokee National History Museum for their club’s cultural enrichment project.

The museum is at the 101 S. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah. There were eight members and one guest present for the tour. Amber Edwards, director of executive administration, arranged the tour and provided a patient and knowledgeable tour guide.

The museum was erected in 1869, designed by C.W. Goodlander; the architecture is Italianate in style. The museum was placed on the National Registrar of Historic Places in 1966. It was the Cherokee National Capitol from 1869-1907, which housed the Cherokee Supreme Court and legislature. It was used as the Cherokee County Court House from 1907 until it was given back to the Cherokee Nation in 1979. The museum functioned as the headquarters for the Cherokee court system and the Cherokee Election Board until it closed around 2015.

It reopened in 2019 as the Cherokee National History Museum. It honored the wishes of the late Sorey Ross – 1900s – descended of Cherokee Chief John Ross, who hoped for the Capitol building to be a museum and show the steady and rising progress of the Cherokee people. It has done this in a very splendid and historic fashion. The museum has 4,000-square-feet of permanent exhibits, where patrons can experience the history and lifestyle of the Cherokee people from pre-European contact to the recuperation of the tribe from the devastating effects of the Trail of Tears and a Civil War to modern day Cherokee Nation.

The Woodall club had the opportunity to view artifacts from the Smithsonian, Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Cherokee Nation Archives. The exhibits cover numerous themes, such as commerce, education, religion, government, and more. The museum impressively tells the uplifting, yet painful story of the largest tribe in the United States in one of the most vital buildings in the tribe’s history.

OHCE ended the tour with a wonderful lunch at the River City Café, where members had a feast on traditional Indian tacos. The club wants to extend a thank you to Melanie Bench for accommodating them at the café.

Contact Fran Ridenhour at 918-207-8312 for information about OHCE meetings, activities, or becoming a member. Everyone is welcome to participate in the OHCE Woodall Club.

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