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Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum set to reopen

The tribe’s Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Reservation will reopen Aug. 21, 2021, after being closed to the public since March 13, 2020, due to the pandemic. (Photo Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum)

BIG CYPRESS – The Seminole Tribe will reopen its Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on Aug. 21. The date coincides with the museum’s 24th anniversary and the tribe’s 64th anniversary of federal recognition.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki has been closed to the public since March 13, 2020, due to the pandemic.

The museum will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Masks must be worn to enter the museum. Hand sanitizing stations will be positioned throughout the campus.

The mile-long boardwalk will be open to one-way traffic. Museum artisans will return to the Seminole Village and the traditional interpretation coordinator will return to the Hunting Camp.

“We have been carefully preparing for the reopening of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, to ensure the safe return of our staff, visitors and community,” Kate Macuen, museum director, said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the museum after 17 months of closure and offering a unique and safe place where our visitors can learn about and celebrate Seminole stories, history and traditions.”

In addition to the museum’s permanent exhibits and the alligator wrestling exhibit which opened in late 2019, visitors can experience two new exhibits.

Graffiti and Street Art: “Expressions of Community Pride” celebrates the art form and the tribal members who produce it. At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, artist Alyssa Osceola used the abandoned Big Cypress Bingo Hall to make a statement about the resilience of the Seminole people. She recovered her 11’ x 20’ mural during the destruction of the building, which now serves as an eye-catching centerpiece of the exhibition.

Artist Wilson Bowers is also featured in the exhibit. He has anonymously produced dozens of murals and iconic images at several locations in Big Cypress. Bowers’ commentary provides insight to the motivation, determination and thoughtful messaging these pieces provide.

The visuals are a means to encourage, educate and celebrate the history and culture of the Seminole people. The exhibit will run through November 2021.

Two Worlds: “Heenechatche, the Legacy of William Buffalo Tiger” will explore this influential leader, who was paramount in the independence of the Miccosukee Tribe. The  exhibition will focus on Tiger’s contributions to sovereignty and education of Native people and his lead in the fight to protect the Creator’s gifts. The exhibit will open in September and run through spring 2022.

The museum is located at 30290 Josie Billie Highway on the Big Cypress Reservation. Click here for more information.