Learning about Cherokee Heritage Center

Harvest Hosts is a one-of-a-kind membership program for RVers, offering free overnight accommodations in a variety of unique locations across North America. Of the 1028+ number of Harvest Hosts available, about 200 consist of specific attractions, such as  restaurants, theme parks, museums, and more. Of these locations, many are museums, and these museums feature a diverse variety of themes, such as cultural, historic, and scientific topics. One of these stops is the Cherokee Heritage Center, a nonprofit, historical site in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. About a mile off of Highway 62, visitors can find this excellent location nestled amongst an area of wooded land. The center features the Cherokee National Museum and two living Cherokee villages.

Cherokee Heritage Center is an excellent place to visit and learn about the Cherokee nation.

The History

The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for Cherokee tribal history, culture, and the arts. It is located in the heart of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. It began with the Cherokee National History Society’s establishment in 1963. The society consisted of a group of visionary Cherokee citizens who shared a desire to establish a permanent culture-keeping institution for the Cherokee people. This group later became the Board of Trustees of the Cherokee National Historical Society. They then received designation as a non-profit organization in 1964. Later on, the society secured forty-four acres of land near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and the Cherokee Heritage Center was born.

Cherokee Heritage Center is an excellent place to visit and learn about the Cherokee nation.

About the Center

Today, the Cherokee Heritage Center includes the Cherokee National Museum, the newly constructed Diligwa, the 1710 Cherokee Village, Adams Corner, an Indian Territory period town, the Cherokee National Archives, the Trail of Tears Exhibit, and the Cherokee Family Research Center (CFRC). The established center’s purpose is to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture, while sponsoring dynamic educational programs, reconstructed historic villages, engaging exhibits, and scholarly research. These facilities stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the Cherokee people and extend that knowledge and general information to the public.

Research admission to the Cherokee Heritage Center includes access to the CFRC and genealogy library.  The admission fee (Adults: $12, Seniors: $10 and youth, grades K-12: $7) also gives visitors access to  museum exhibits, the Trail of tears exhibit, a guided tour of the Ancient Cherokee Village and a self-guided tour of Adams Corner Rural Village.

Cherokee Heritage Center is an excellent place to visit and learn about the Cherokee nation.

Cherokee Heritage Center is located on the grounds of the famous Cherokee Female Seminary, one of the first institutions of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi. Because of this, it has been added to the National Register of historic places. The site is also designated by the National Park Service as the interpretive site for the western terminus of the Trail Of Tears for the Cherokees and other tribes forcibly removed to Oklahoma during the 1800’s. Sharing the Cherokee culture with visitors from around the world is one of the greatest benefits to the center’s museum and operators.

The museum is designated to record Cherokee history for future generations.

Joining Harvest Hosts

Cherokee Heritage Center became a Harvest Hosts location in 2017. Currently, Harvest Hosts members are the only RVers they allow to stay on their historic grounds. RVers can stay here for two nights in an RV of any size. The host is pet-friendly, and there are three spaces available. At the location itself, there are even opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, and picnicking. Harvest Hosts members can also obtain a Cherokee Nation Passport from the Cherokee Heritage Center. This allows them to explore other historic areas away from the center. These include the Cherokee Prison Site, Cherokee Supreme Court site, and more.

Harvest Host members can stay overnight for free in self-contained RVs.

Things to Do Nearby

Those wanting to get outside and explore the area around Tahlequah should check out the Illinois River. This waterway is considered by many to be the best place in that state to paddle a canoe. There are also opportunities for swimming at nearby Lake Tenkiller. 

Those who enjoy cute towns are in luck, because Tahlequah is one of the 100 best small towns in America. Tahlequah Original Historic Townsite District displays street signs in both English and Cherokee. There is so much to see and do there, including twenty-three options for dining choices. The most popular restaurants are a cafe specializing in coffee and crepes, several choices for barbeque, and a pizza palace. Nearby, there are also opportunities for viewing art galleries and theater, relaxation at spas, and plenty of shopping. Those feeling lucky should stop by the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah and for a game of cards or a few rounds on the slot machines.

Downtown Tahlequah was designated as one of the top 100 best small towns in America.

Visiting Cherokee Heritage Center is an experience on its own, and it’s made better by the ability to stay overnight. Members should spend plenty of time exploring the historic areas and learning about the history of the Cherokee Nation. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy in Tahlequah. This is a perfect stop for anyone passing through Northeastern Oklahoma who enjoys history and culture.

The heritage center is located in the heart of the Cherokee nation.

Have you visited Cherokee Heritage Center? What did you learn? Is there another host you would like us to feature? Feel free to share in the comments below!

 

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