TAHLEQUAH, Okla., (May 13, 2011) --- Built in 1850, the original Cherokee National Female Seminary was located in Park Hill on the current grounds of the Cherokee Heritage Center before it burned to the ground in 1887. After 160 years, three original columns still remain and frame the entrance to the Cherokee Heritage Center. A lasting testament to the Cherokee Nation’s commitment to education and history.

This great Cherokee Nation tradition will be featured in The Original Cherokee National Female Seminary Exhibit from May 16-Aug. 7 at the Cherokee Heritage Center located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill, OK 74451.

The Cherokee National Female Seminary was the first institution of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi River. The exhibition presents an interactive visual and historical account of the Female Seminary along with the archaeological discoveries made on the grounds. Items in the exhibit include a video account of the institution from pre-fire to present day, photographs, paintings, diagrams and documents. Guests will also get an up-close look at the three original columns that line the front of the Center. This exhibit is sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council.

“Forty-eight years ago the founders of the Cherokee National Historical Society chose our current location because of the historic significance of the Female Seminary and what it symbolized to the Cherokee people,” said Carey Tilley, Executive Director at the Cherokee Heritage Center. “One hundred and sixty years ago the Cherokee Nation took a leading role in demonstrating its commitment to an educational system that was inclusive of women as well as men.  This exhibit tells the story of that commitment in a unique way that allows visitors to gain a better understanding of both the historic site and the education that Cherokee women received here.”

The original Cherokee Female Seminary was built by the Cherokee Tribal Government and was a boarding school for women that offered a variety of challenging courses including Greek history, Latin, theology and geometry.
Following the fire in 1887, a new Seminary Hall was built near downtown Tahlequah and operated from 1889-1909. The state of Oklahoma then purchased the facility and Seminary Hall now stands as the signature building on the Northeastern State University campus located at 600 North Grand Ave., Tahlequah, OK 74464.

The Cherokee Heritage Center, which sits on a 49-acre complex, first opened to the public in 1967 under the leadership of Chief W.W. Keeler and the Cherokee National Historical Society. Today, in addition to the outdoor exhibits, the center is home to thousands of tribal historical objects, documents and photographs.

  The Cherokee Heritage Center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week from May 1 to Sept 5. It is closed during January and on Sundays from Feb. 1 to April 30 and Sept. 6 to Dec. 31.

Cherokee Heritage Center admission is $8.50 per adult, $7.50 per senior (55 and older) and students with proper identification, and $5 per child. Admission price includes all attractions. Entry to the grounds and museum store are free.

For information on the 2011 season and programs, please contact the Cherokee Heritage Center at (888) 999-6007, email at info@cherokeeheritage.org or visit http://www.CherokeeHeritage.org.

About Cherokee Heritage Center
The Cherokee Heritage Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the premier cultural center for Cherokee tribal history, culture, and the arts. Located in the heart of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Okla., it was established in 1963 by the Cherokee National Historical Society to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture. The Cherokee Heritage Center is also home to the Cherokee National Archives, which is the Nation’s foremost collection of historic tribal related documents and artifacts from the 1700s through present day. The Cherokee Heritage Center is situated on the grounds of the original Cherokee Female Seminary, which is one of the first institutions of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service has designated the Center as the interpretive site for the western terminus of the Trail Of Tears for the Cherokees and other tribes forcibly removed to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, during the 1800s. For more information, please visit http://www.CherokeeHeritage.org.




Cameron Andrews
Pier Communications

Ben Elder
Cherokee Nation Entertainment