May 29

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Museum of the Cherokee Sign watermark

After hiking all morning and driving through the park we were getting hungry so we went to the town of Cherokee to stop for lunch.  During lunch we had a decision to make, do we keep on hiking or is it time for something else.  Though we both like to hike and see nature we were ready for something else.  We then come up with a plan to see the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, which turned out to be a really great history museum.

Basket museum watermark

Karen and I really enjoyed our time at the museum, the price was reasonable, as of 2011 it was $10.00 per adult.  The museum was nicely laid out with several interactive displays that were also motion sensitive.  One of the coolest things at the museum was how they immersed us from the start.  After we paid for our tickets we were ushered into a holding area where on the wall they had traditional Cherokee fables with traditional art masks.  Seeing the fables and art was pretty cool in itself, but what really made it special was when you stood in front of each fable a sensor would be triggered and an automated voice would tell you about the history of the story.  Next, you were asked to go into a room which had a 3D fire pit and a short movie with a light show that shows and tells the Cherokee history of how the Earth was created.  Now that we were a little immersed in the culture of the Cherokees it was time to learn about their history.

cherokee painting watermark

Leaving the movie room, Karen and I got to see many informative display cases filled with a variety of things from weapons to canoes.  The museum had exhibits covering the early days of the Cherokee Nation all the way up to and through the Trail of Tears.  All the exhibits were very good, but the one that captured everybody’s attention was the hologram medicine man that would move around his fire and talk to you.
Hologram Man Museum watermark

The museum did a very good job explaining viewpoints from both sides, not only the Native Americans and the United States but also both sides of the Cherokee Nation with regards to the Trail of Tears.  Being a history teacher it was really neat to see quotes from both tribal leaders and leaders of the United States about the Trail of Tears and compare and contrast their statements.  The museum was a great learning experience for all.
wax figures cherokee musuem watermark

The building is very modern, you should walk around outside it because it has wonderful hand cut statues, and amazing artwork.  One of the best features of the whole building is the wooden sculpted head of Sequoyah who came up with the writing system of the Cherokees.  It is carved out of one enormous giant sequoia (red wood) tree from the Sequoia National Forest in California.
wooden carving cherokee museum watermark

Karen and I highly recommend this museum for anybody that has an interest in Native American history and anybody who has school aged children.  I wish this museum had a duplicate in Oklahoma City so I could take my students when we cover the 5 Civilized Tribes and the Trail of Tears.  It was an excellent museum, well worth spending some time.

For more information you can check out the museum’s website at http://www.cherokeemuseum.org

Hours of operation 9 am to 5 pm year round
Summer hours 9am to 7pm Memorial Day through Labor Day- Sunday 9 am to 5 pm
Open Everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years

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