Ingles Open Road: Museum of the Cherokee People
We’re visiting a sovereign nation inside the borders of the United States – and a museum that tells its story through the ages. It’s a time of transition here as the leaves of autumn begin to fall, and a time of change inside these walls as well.
Established in 1948, the Museum of the Cherokee People is one of the longest-operating tribal museums in the country. Located in Cherokee, North Carolina on the Qualla Boundary, the sovereign land of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and ancestral homelands of all Cherokees, the Museum shares the history, culture, and stories of the Cherokee people through its exhibitions, collections, and programs.
Here, visitors experience Cherokee history and culture in an immersive environment, moving through the timeline of its people – with all its pride, accomplishment, heartbreak, and resilience.
On most days, visitors can meet the Atsila Anotasgi Cultural Specialists: Museum ambassadors who share traditional Cherokee cultural practices with their community and guests, including storytelling, finger weaving, and wood carving.
Currently this museum is in the midst of Disruption, an exhibit and intervention of the Museum’s permanent exhibition by contemporary Cherokee artists in response to the removal of funerary and culturally sensitive objects from public view.
Made using traditional aesthetics, the contemporary works disrupting the Museum’s archaeological timeline – drawn and painted, carved from wood, shaped in clay, woven in thread, and crafted using a number of innovative mixed media methods – offer Native perspectives on Cherokee culture, history, and current issues.
Given that the current main exhibit is 25 years old, it’s time for a facelift. Many exhibition strategies have changed in that time, and they are re-thinking the traditional timeline method of conveying the Cherokee story, and most importantly, ensuring Cherokee self-representation in the stories they tell.
This is a place to come and learn… listen… and seek an understanding that is broader and deeper than the things you think you know when you arrive.