Museum of the Cherokee People

The Museum of the Cherokee People (MTCP), formerly known as the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (MCI), is a 501(c)3 nonprofit cultural arts and history museum, educational center, and archive founded in 1948, and located in Cherokee, North Carolina.[1][2] The museum provides permanent exhibitions, an artifact collection, workshops, educational programs, and a museum store.[1][3] The museum was previously operated by the Cherokee Historical Association,[4] but later became its own entity. It has been part of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association.

Museum of the Cherokee People
Museum of the Cherokee People is located in North Carolina
Museum of the Cherokee People
Location within North Carolina
Former name
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Established1948; 76 years ago (1948)
Location589 Tsali Boulevard,
Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S.
Coordinates35°29′04″N 83°18′59″W / 35.48451°N 83.31642°W / 35.48451; -83.31642
TypeArt museum, history museum, cultural museum, archive, community center, educational center
AccreditationNorth American Reciprocal Museum Association
OwnerCherokee Historical Association



Founded as the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in 1948 by the Eastern Band of Cherokee, it was located in a log cabin building that also housed McLeans Indian Store and the Ocona Lufty Inn.[1][5][6] The museum's operations have provided tourism, jobs, and commercial enterprise in an area where unemployment was high; while simultaneously highlighting Cherokee people and preserving their cultural traditions as a fundamental part of the museums operation.[7] They work to counteract inaccurate imagery of Cherokee culture often found in mainstream media.[8] The Eastern Band of Cherokee also established other local attractions, including the Unto These Hills outdoor theater series in 1950; and the Oconaluftee Indian Village in 1952.[5] After a major renovation in 2023, the museum changed its name to the Museum of the Cherokee People to clarify that the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes are one people. Besides the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians based here in Cherokee, there is the United Keetoowah Band and the Cherokee Nation, the largest tribal government in the U.S., both of which are in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.[9]

In October 2023, the museum name was changed from Museum of the Cherokee Indian to Museum of the Cherokee People.[10]

Exhibitions and artists


Museum exhibitions have focused on Cherokee history and pre-history with topics such as "stone tools and weapons", "mineral displays", "Indian corn", "Cherokee pipes", "bone ornaments", "seashell ornaments", "game stones", "Oconaluftee Village crafts", "model of ancient burial", "mortar and pestle", "bannerstones, birdstones, and boatstones", "Cherokee people today", "Emissaries of Peace: The 1762 Cherokee/British Delegations" (2004), and the "origins of the American Indian".[11][3][12][13]

The Cherokee Potters Guild was formed in January 2003, after a series of workshops held at the Museum of the Cherokee.[1] The museum also hosts a number of annual summer and fall festivals, including the "Cherokee Voices Festival", and the "Festival of Native Peoples".[5]

Folklorist Barbara R. Duncan had been employed by the museum to research Cherokee legends, myths, and family stories. Some were published in "Living Stories of the Cherokee" (University of North Carolina Press, 1998).[14]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f Power, Susan C. (January 1, 2007). Art of the Cherokee: Prehistory to the Present. University of Georgia Press. pp. 6, 155, 223, 225. ISBN 978-0-8203-2766-2.
  2. ^ Hargan, Jim (June 4, 2012). Explorer's Guide Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains (Fourth Edition). The Countryman Press. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-88150-968-7.
  3. ^ a b Summitt, April R. (May 15, 2012). Sequoyah and the Invention of the Cherokee Alphabet. ABC-CLIO. pp. 155–156. ISBN 978-0-313-39178-1.
  4. ^ Lawson, Russell M. (April 2, 2013). Encyclopedia of American Indian Issues Today [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-313-38145-4.
  5. ^ a b c Fariello, M. Anna (2018). Cherokee. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 84–85, 106. ISBN 978-1-4671-1653-4.
  6. ^ Frye, Jason (June 4, 2019). Moon North Carolina: With Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Avalon Publishing. p. 363. ISBN 978-1-64049-380-3.
  7. ^ Fariello, M. Anna (September 30, 2009). Cherokee Basketry: From the Hands of Our Elders. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61423-002-1.
  8. ^ Simpson, Moira G. (December 6, 2012). Making Representations: Museums in the Post-Colonial Era. Routledge. pp. 139, 148. ISBN 978-1-135-63271-7.
  9. ^ French, Sarah (October 9, 2023). "'We're not just a history museum': Museum of the Cherokee Indian changes name to recognize all 3 tribes". WCNC. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  10. ^ Schulman, Sandra Hale (October 9, 2023). "Cherokee museum unveils name change, new look". ICT News. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  11. ^ Mails, Thomas E. (1992). The Cherokee People: The Story of the Cherokees from Earliest Origins to Contemporary Times. Council Oak Books. p. 344. ISBN 978-0-933031-45-6.
  12. ^ H.R. 2534, H.R. 4530, and H.R. 4822: legislative hearing before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands of the Committee on Resources, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, second session, June 13, 2002. United States Congress House Committee on Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2002. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-16-069819-4.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ Humanities. Vol. 25–26. National Endowment for the Humanities Humanities. 2004. p. 32.
  14. ^ McClinton-Temple, Jennifer; Velie, Alan (May 12, 2010). Encyclopedia of American Indian Literature. Infobase Publishing. p. 336. ISBN 978-1-4381-2087-4.
  15. ^ Reynolds, Jr., William R. (January 24, 2015). The Cherokee Struggle to Maintain Identity in the 17th and 18th Centuries. McFarland. pp. 358–359. ISBN 978-1-4766-1578-3.
  16. ^ "2007.20 - Mask". Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Retrieved July 19, 2022.

Further reading