Cherokees seeking artifacts for prison restoration

Tahlequah, Oklahoma (AP) May 2010

In its effort to restore the old Cherokee National Prison and turn it into a museum, the Tahlequah-based tribe is asking the public for artifacts that can be displayed.

The facility was the only penitentiary building in what then was Indian Territory from its completion in 1875 until 1901. The building now is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tribal officials say there will be two phases to the building’s restoration. After moisture problems in the foundation, basement and walls are controlled, the goal is to take the facility’s exterior structure back to its appearance in the late 19th century.

When that phase is finished, landscaping, fencing and parking issues will be addressed.

Tribal officials say all artifacts that are donated or loaned will be catalogued and processed following standard museum guidelines.