Deviney Luchsinger/Multimedia Specialist
AICCM set to open doors spring of 2021
OKLAHOMA CITY — The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum is estimated to open its doors in spring of 2021.
Shoshana Wasserman, associate director for the AICCM said the museum hopes to share the collective story and the impact Native Americans had on American history and how Native Americans contribute to modern society in Oklahoma.
“This is a place to share those complex stories in the state, the region and quite frankly the international community, to understand that this is a microcosm of America’s story,” she said during an interview with Mvskoke Radio.
The project started in 2006 and originally was supposed to be funded equally by federal bonds, the state and donations from the private sector.
She said the federal government was unable to fulfill its side of the agreement, and in 2012, state funding ran out, causing the project to cease.
Recently, the State of Oklahoma sold the land back to Oklahoma City, who sold a large portion of the land base to AICCM Land Development LLC, a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation Land Development Department of Commerce.
According to www.okgazette.com, in 2015 the Chickasaw Nation approached the city to cover construction costs that exceed $65 million and provide $2 million in operational costs for seven years in exchange for the chance to develop the land near the museum.
The website states this agreement would fulfill the requirements of the State, proposed by Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman and signed by the governor.
“The Chickasaw Nation has long been a strong support in the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum,” Bill Lance, tribal commerce secretary said in an email to ‘Oklahoma Gazette’ in 2015. “As an investor, operator and owner in a variety of diverse businesses we are pleased to offer to invest in the AICCM for the benefit of the city, the state and Chickasaw Nation.”
Wasserman said it is not a Chickasaw Nation project and the museum will still be for all 39 tribal nations in Oklahoma.
She said the museum does not attempt to tell each of the tribe’s individual stories, but instead highlight the collective story of all the nations, from pre-European contact, removal and the boarding school era, all the way to modern times.
Wasserman said one of the galleries will tell the story of how all 39 tribes got to Oklahoma, in both a historical context and a contemporary context.
Another exhibit will include cultural materials on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian.
Other exhibits will include a changing exhibitions gallery, a children’s discovery center, and a community gallery that will showcase fluid and topical collections.
And finally, the museum will also host a gallery for permanent collections.
Wasserman called Oklahoma City a “gateway” and hopes the museum will inspire visitors to explore local cultural centers and museums.
“It’s really a compliment to what’s going on in Indian Country,” she said.
Construction for AICCM is scheduled to begin late this summer.