The Cultural Heritage Center is one of tribal members’ favorite places to visit during Festival. Visitors will be in for a treat as they will see the many changes that have taken place during the past year and get a preview of what is to come. We sat down with CHC Director Kelli Mosteller, Ph.D., to learn more about what we can look forward to seeing in June. 

What construction has taken place lately at the CHC?

“We have begun to put objects into the cases on the Veterans’ Wall of Honor. They don’t necessarily look the way they will when the redesign is completely finished, but most of the cases should have some objects in them for Festival while we work to complete the larger exhibit. On the main gallery floor we have started construction of all the walls to separate out various sections of the exhibit. They will be finished, including electrical needs and drywall by the end of April.”

Walls for the Cultural Heritage Center's main exhibit being framed by tribal member Reuben Peltier at the end of April.

What updates will be taking place before Festival?

“By Festival we plan to have section one of the main exhibit complete, this will tell the story of the Seven Fires Prophecy and the Three Fires Council of which we were a part. We will have all of the veteran images installed on the Veterans’ Wall of Honor and five of the cases will be completed. We will be in construction on sections two and eight of the main exhibit gallery, which depict the role that the ecology of the Great Lakes played in Potawatomi life and our time in Kansas, respectively. We will also have mock-ups and sketch drawings of the rest of the exhibit sections.” 

What should tribal members expect to do at the CHC during Festival?

“The CHC will continue to host classes and demonstrations as we have in the past. That will also include a visit from Myanabe, CPN’s golden eagle, and the aviary staff each afternoon so that tribal members can see him on the glove and ask questions. We will do tours of the exhibit on the odd hours throughout the day on Friday and Saturday so that CHC staff can explain where we are in the construction phase and talk about the larger plan for the exhibit. Specific times will be listed in the Festival schedule of events.”

Who is doing the construction on the CHC?

“Reuben Peltier, a tribal member, is doing wall construction and other structural pieces, like pedestals and platforms. CHC staff members are working with an exhibit design firm, Atlas Fine Art Service, to develop the concepts and design features. Blake and I have shaped the narrative and are writing the content. CPN tribal members Jennifer Randell of the CPN Eagle Aviary and Trey DeLonais of the CPN Public Information Department have helped with a lot of the design work for the Seven Fires exhibit. Other CPN departments, especially tribal members employed in related fields, are assisting as well.”

A similar view of the progress of the Seven Fires exhibit at the beginning of June

When did construction start? When is the projected time frame for completion?

“When we received our insurance settlement in August of 2015, we hired Atlas to start working on the overall design of the exhibit in September, and construction started in March of 2016. We plan to finish the entire exhibit gallery by June of 2017.”

To learn more about the CHC, please visit potawatomiheritage.org.