Cherokee Preservation Foundation awards Museum $385K grant to support organization’s growth as first-voice museum, community hub

by Jun 13, 2024COMMUNITY sgadugi0 comments

CHEROKEE, N.C. – Museum of the Cherokee People (MotCP) has been awarded a major spring grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. The $385,000 grant will support the Museum’s goals to update its public facility, built in 1976, by providing critical funding for architectural schematic drawings for its offsite collections facility, the services of an owner’s representative, capital campaign consultant, strategic plan consultant, and a mini redesign of the Museum’s lobby.

“We are appreciative of the Foundation’s continued investment in the exceptional work of the Museum’s staff to deliver on our mission of perpetuating and preserving the history, culture and stories of the Cherokee people,” says Cory Blankenship, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and Museum of the Cherokee People Board of Directors. “This investment will advance the work of the Museum in shifting the narrative of how the story of our people and other Indigenous peoples is told.”

The project is aligned with Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s goals to bolster economic development supporting the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and enhance downtown Cherokee’s cultural district. Addressing the Museum’s aging and outdated infrastructure ensures the safety and wellbeing of Museum staff, guests, and the object and archival material collections in its care. By improving the visitor experience in the Museum’s public facility through increased exhibition and programming space and updates to its main galleries, the Museum will tell the Cherokee story as Cherokee people, creating a welcoming, illuminating, and engaging space for Cherokee people and visitors to the Qualla Boundary.

Begun in the spring of 2024, the Museum’s mini lobby redesign project seeks to optimize the Museum’s reception area by removing outdated and broken technology, improving wayfinding, and adding interpretation that reflects MotCP’s visual brand while sharing its mission, vision, and values, with its global visitors during this multiyear renovation. This summer, visitors may enjoy “sov·er·eign·ty: Expressions in Sovereignty of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, an exhibition that illuminates the complexities of tribal sovereignty and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ continuing legacy of resilience, through Feb. 28, 2025. “ᏗᏓᏂᏏᏍᎩ ᎦᏓᏆᏟ Didanisisgi Gadagwatli: A Showcase of Pottery from the Mud Dauber Community Workshop at the Museum of the Cherokee People“, an exhibition of work by students of renowned potter Tara McCoy, an EBCI tribal member, is on view through Dec. 6, 2024. Artistic and cultural demonstrations by the Museum’s Atsila Anotasgi Cultural Specialists are included in admission and take place Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Museum officials noted, “Support from organizations like Cherokee Preservation Foundation advances the Museum of the Cherokee People’s goal to be a leader in first-voice representation in museums. Historically, Native stories have been told by non-Native voices; as the tribal museum of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians located on the ancestral lands of all Cherokee people, MotCP seeks to be a community space, educational hub, and vibrant starting point for visitors to Cherokee to deepen their understanding of our home and our people.”

  • Museum of the Cherokee People release