May 01, 2012

Cherokees debut prison museum

Cherokees to hold grand opening for prison museum

By Susan HyltonThe Cherokee Nation will have a grand opening ceremony for the Cherokee National Prison Museum on Tuesday morning.

The new museum is the tribe's third wholly-owned and operated museum.

Built in 1874 of sandstone, the Cherokee National Prison was the only prison "made to hold the most hardened and dangerous prisoners" in Indian Territory from 1875 to 1901.

It closed in 1901, but left behind a rich history of crime, punishment and notorious outlaws.

Officials said the museum will feature an "interactive kiosk" that focuses on infamous Cherokees, some of whom history treats as outlaws and others as patriots.

Visitors will be able to match punishments with crimes on a "wheel of justice," lift an actual ball and chain, search a database of Indian Territory's outlaws and read a New York Times article on Cherokee outlaw Henry Starr.

The museum also features an audio interpretation of Ned Christie's last stand against the U.S. Marshals. Christie, a Cherokee statesman, was falsely accused of murdering a U.S. Marshal.
Comment:  For more on Cherokee history, see Cherokee "History After Dark" and Cherokee Civil War Tourism.

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