BIG CYPRESS — The virtual doors are open at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.
Although the museum in Big Cypress has remained closed (as of press time) since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all its permanent and temporary exhibits that showcase the Seminole Tribe’s culture and history are available for anyone in the world with internet access to view.
The museum’s 3D virtual tour launched June 25 at ahtahthiki.com.
“We are committed to staying engaged with our community and public during the pandemic crisis and this virtual tour is a chance for visitors near and far to get a glimpse into Seminole history and culture from the comfort of home. While it doesn’t replace a visit out to Big Cypress, we hope this online experience will be a fun introduction to future visitors and provide a different perspective to those who have visited us before,” said Kate Macuen, museum director.
Each stop on the tour provides opportunities to enjoy 360-degree views and the ability to tilt scenes up and down and zoom in and out. Essentially, you go where you want to go.
Take a stroll along the boardwalk through the cypress dome, get in the middle of the action in a stickball game or zoom into the powerful jaws of an alligator.
Some stops include clickable videos that enhance the experience. The theater item offers virtual visitors a chance to watch the 17-minute orientation film “We Seminoles” that is shown to visitors at the start of tours during normal operations.
A sampling of exhibit highlights on the journey include:
From the Land
Harvests from the land and many parts of animals are used to supply food, clothing, and tools. When items could not be obtained from the Everglades, the Seminoles would trade with a handful of store (trading post) owners.
Under the chickee is a glimpse of traditional meal time, where multiple generations gathered around their food. The camp is characterized by numerous chickees, which in Miccosukee means house. In the center of the gallery, three women are busy around a fire preparing the daily meal. This fire, if properly tended to, could last for weeks. A family glides down a quiet stretch of river in their full size dug-out canoe on their way to a trading post.
Mosaic Gallery: Ahfachkee Student Art Exhibit
In this selection of artwork, students used the basic elements of art repeating the likeness of the different artistic styles.
West Gallery: Alligator Wrestling
Explore the deep roots of the Seminole’s relationship to alligators. Discover how alligator wrestling took hold and how it helps preserve culture and tradition today. Learn about the biology of an alligator through interactives and watch the incredible skill and techniques of alligator wrestlers on screen.
“Having a virtual tour is something we have talked about for years,” said Carrie Dilley, visitor services and development manager. “We understand that our location is a bit remote and not everyone can come visit us in person when we are open. This virtual tour immerses you in the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki experience no matter your location. We really hope we are able to bring the Seminole story to the forefront, to plant a seed, so that people want to still visit us once we reopen and expand their knowledge even more.”