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Explore fascinating, new exhibits at every Cherokee Nation museum and enjoy free admission during Cherokee National Holiday
SEPT. 1 – 3, 2017; 10 AM – 4 PM

Explore fascinating exhibits at Cherokee Nation museums and enjoy free admission during the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday, Sept. 1-3

Learn about the history of crime and punishment in Cherokee Nation at the Cherokee National Prison Museum. Built of sandstone in 1875, the prison was made to house the most hardened and dangerous prisoners and was the only penitentiary building in all of Indian Territory from 1875 to 1901. Now, this museum features a working blacksmith area, reconstructed gallows, exhibits and interactive displays, jail cells and much more.

The Cherokee National Prison Museum hosts “The Pardoned,” a special exhibit showcasing some of the individuals who received pardon from the Cherokee National Prison and how imprisonment, and release, changed their lives. 

Built in 1844, the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum is the oldest government building in Oklahoma. Originally constructed to house the Cherokee National Supreme Court, this museum is home to a variety of historical items and features pieces representing three historic areas: the Cherokee National Judicial System, The Cherokee Advocate and Phoenix newspapers, and the Cherokee language.

Also at the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, experience the “Oddities of The Cherokee Advocate” exhibit. This exhibit highlights some of the odd stories and occurrences that were reported in The Cherokee Advocate newspaper from 1844 to 1906 and features actual excerpts from The Cherokee Advocate, which once was printed in the same building that now houses the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum. 

Just south of the Cherokee Heritage Center​, the John Ross Museum highlights the life of John Ross, principal chief of Cherokee Nation for more than 38 years. The museum houses exhibits and interactive displays on the Trail of Tears, Civil War, Cherokee Golden Age and Cherokee Nation’s passion for the education of its people.

Come learn about Principal Chief Lewis Downing’s impact on Cherokee Nation at the “The Life of Lewis Downing” exhibit at the John Ross Museum. This limited-time exhibit explores how Downing worked to rebuild Cherokee Nation during the post-Civil War years and how he helped bring peace between the full-blood and mixed-blood factions after the end of the Civil War. 

Located in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a National Literary Landmark in 2006. Sequoyah brought literacy to his fellow Cherokees through his unique Cherokee syllabary. Today, Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum stands as a monument to his perseverance and ingenuity. The actual cabin is located inside a stone memorial building built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 and is surrounded by a 10-acre park. The cabin is maintained as a historic house museum, furnished to appear as it might have when Sequoyah lived there. There are relics and documents associated with his life on display. 

The Cherokee National Holiday has been observed annually since 1953, commemorating the signing of the 1839 Cherokee Constitution. With an exciting array of entertainment, cultural and athletic events, it has grown into one of the largest festivals in Oklahoma, attracting more than 100,000 visitors from across the world. 

All four museums are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.