December 03, 2010

Cherokees plan John Ross Museum

Tribe breaks ground on Ross Museum

The restoration of Rural School 51 will be the third museum owned wholly by the Cherokee Nation.

By Teddye Snell
The Cherokee people pride themselves on honoring values, particularly leadership and education.

Both values were recognized Thursday, when the tribe broke ground on its latest restoration project: the John Ross Museum, formerly Rural School 51, near Ross Cemetery at Park Hill.
And:Ross served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation for more than 38 years, and led the tribe through forced removal known as the Trail of Tears. The museum will highlight his life and accomplishments, and additional exhibits will center on local interests and the history of the Park Hill community.

“It is an honor for me to recognize two very important values held by the Cherokee people,” said Smith. “That is the importance placed on education and the reverence we hold for our leaders. It’s these two concepts--education and leadership--that bring us together to break ground on the restoration of Rural School 51 and adaptation of the facility to host the John Ross Museum.”
Museum to tell of chief

Cherokees break ground to raise history

By Keith Purtell
Principal Chief Chad Smith said the museum will not only feature a crucial part of Cherokee history. It will also play a role in the tribe’s growing cultural tourism.

“The schoolhouse gives us an opportunity to tell the phenomenal story of John Ross, who is buried a couple of hundred yards from here in the Ross Cemetery,” he said. “The lessons of his life, the trials and tribulations he led us through, is just phenomenal. He was in office for 38 1/2 years, and led the Cherokees during the removal and the Civil War. We’re looking forward to hundreds of school children and the general public coming here to learn.”

Smith said Ross provided stability and vision during a very difficult era and was a great advocate of education and diplomacy.

The museum will become part of the Cherokee Nation’s larger network of cultural tourism, he said.

“Our cultural tourism group is in the process of renovating other properties and creating these cultural sites,” he said. “This will help our local economy. This will be one building in our network of historic properties.”
Comment:  For more on Cherokee tourism, see Cherokee Nation Wins Redbud Awards and Tahlequah as Art Destination.

Below:  "Since it closed in the 1950s, Rural School 51 near Ross Cemetery has fallen into disrepair. The Cherokee Nation will restore the site to house the John Ross Museum." (Teddye Snell)

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

New museum features legacy of Chief John Ross

The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group celebrated the opening of the John Ross Museum with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 21. The museum is the second CN completely owned and operated museum.

“We’re going to make it a destination for tourism and the number one thing that people want to tour in Oklahoma is the Indian culture,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “It raises the knowledge of our people."