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September 15, 2017

By Lucas Taylor/MCNPR

Downtown Business Owner looks forward to the increase of visitors once renovation is complete 

OKMULGEE, Okla., – As Liz Staudt looks out her business’ front window she likes what she sees. Staudt is taking notice of the renovation work to the Historic Creek Council House Museum, and anxiously waiting for its completion. The owner of Staudt Jeweler remembers the time not long ago when the Creek Council House was the focal point of tourism in downtown Okmulgee.

“I think it’s urgently important that this renovation be completed as soon as possible,” said Staudt.  “The museum is a draw. Travelers see the billboard about the museum on Hwy 75 and come to downtown Okmulgee to visit the museum. Even tour buses made this a stopping point.”

Construction crews are currently working on painting the interior, repairing the floors, stairs, and walls and replacing the sidewalks. Construction crews have completed restoring the ceilings, repairing the roof and the cupola, stabilizing the foundation on the northwest corner, installing a drain system in the lawn, and regrading the lawn to avoid pooling at the foundation.

According to Veronica Pipestem, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Cultural Center and Archives Interim Director/Collections Manager, the progress of the renovation is passed its halfway point. The construction is on schedule and will be completed in December. The reinterpretation of the inside should be completed by mid to late 2018.

The role of MCN Cultural Center and Archives and the renovation process developed mainly during the design phase of the project where key Cultural Center & Archives staff coordinated research regarding the history of the building. The goal was to give the architects an idea of how to use the space and what it should look like according to the historical record.

Accuracy of the Museum is a key component when it comes to visitors downtown. “A majority of the visitors that come to my business and ask about the museum are not Native American,” explained Staudt. “They are intrigued about the Creek Culture and want to see firsthand the history and artifacts of the Creek People.”

Once the rehabilitation to the outside of the Council House is completed, work will begin to transform its inside so that it looks like it did in 1906. The Council House will be used as an educational resource that will, for the first time since the beginning, cohesively present the history, context, and present-day operations of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribal government.

The history of the Muscogee Nation during the Council House era (1865-1906) will be presented alongside contemporary government functions to remind visitors that the Council House represents a people who thrived here in the latter part of the 19th century, but who also continue to exist and thrive in the 21st century.  Exhibits will be interwoven with past and present elements to paint a portrait of the ways in which the Council House-era of governance is still preserved and that elements of that era remain a vital part of contemporary Muscogee government functions. Visitors will be invited to interact with the objects and interactive elements in the exhibits.

For more information contact the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Cultural Center and Archives at (918)-549-2434.