Feb 5, 2021 | News

The Seminole Nation Museum in Wewoka has received a $20,000 Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant to help expand and reorganize its current collections area. With volunteer and intern help, the Museum’s staff has been hard at work since earlier this year gathering the supplies it needs to give its collections space an upgrade.

Since its establishment in 1974, the Seminole Nation Museum has enjoyed much success and its collections have grown substantially in that amount of time. These collections consist of several items, such as paintings, sculptures, cultural items, books, photographs, paper documents, clothing, and a variety of other artifacts. Each of these historically significant heirlooms and fragments of the past help shape our understanding of generations past and allow the museum to tell the story of the Seminole people and the history of Seminole County.

Just as important as the process of documenting these artifacts is keeping them preserved so that generations to come may enjoy and learn from them. Expanding storage is a vital part of ensuring these cultural and historical items are kept in favorable conditions to guarantee their longevity. While it is common knowledge that artifacts need to be kept at optimal temperatures to increase their survival, it is also important that they are kept clean, well-spaced and are handled as little as possible. When a collections area is overburdened, it is difficult to follow all the necessary steps to establish an ideal environment for artifacts, which is why this expansion is such an important and exciting upgrade.

Funding from this grant has made it possible to purchase mobile shelving to increase storage space in the current storage room, as well as five flat-file shelves. One of the most recent purchases with the funding from this grant went towards a new cart for the artifact room. This small wire cart with two tiers has also been stocked with new archival supplies (i.e. gloves, tags, pigma pens, b72 coating, etc.) so that the collections and archive area now has a fully functional and mobile accessioning workstation. Having this space and the proper equipment and archival products to update these will be useful in the future, and the learning opportunities this area will afford to future museum interns will be immensely insightful. Archival supplies make up the bulk of the grant. The Museum has purchased new coroplast and foam to begin the process of making enclosures for artifacts that had until recently been laying on exposed shelving.

While the overall project is still in process, the progress made so far is already a marked improvement. The Seminole Nation Museum is grateful for the opportunity to begin making new plans for the future of its collections, and in turn to continue to preserve the rich history of the Seminole people.