2009 in Review

2009 has been a banner year for the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. Not only have some major milestones been met by the Museum, but we have kept on going with special programs and exhibits that have helped to highlight the history and culture of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Here is a quick review of what happened in 2009.

2009 has been a banner year for the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.  Not only have some major milestones been met by the Museum, but we have kept on going with special programs and exhibits that have helped to highlight the history and culture of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  Here is a quick review of what happened in 2009:

In February the Museum, along with Heritage Ft. Lauderdale, AutoNation and RM Auctions, participated in the Wheels fundraising benefit.  The benefit was held at the Broward County Convention Center and included live entertainment provided by “The Fabulons” and a silent auction with all proceeds benefiting Heritage Ft. Lauderdale. 

March found the Museum hosting Kattle Kids Day, a weekend long event for school age children in the surrounding area.  The day was a resounding success with both Tribal kids and kids from across the region learning about the importance of the cattle industry for the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  In fact the event was such a success that another one will be held March 2010, so stay tuned for more information on this popular event. 

Roping up some cattle at Kattle Kids Day 2009
April was an extremely busy month for the Museum.  Unconquered Imagination opened at our facility in Okalee at the beginning of the month. The exhibit featured contemporary native artists from across the country and ran at that facility through October 2009.  Another exhibit, Native Words, Native Warriors, opened at our Big Cypress facility at the end of the month.  This exhibit, produced by the Smithsonian Institutions Traveling Exhibit Service, was met with much excitement by both the staff and community. 
Native Words, Native Warriors Opening April 2009
The other big news from April was the Museum finding out that it had earned national accreditation from the American Association of Museums (AAM).  This made the Museum the first tribally governed museum in the United States to receive official certification from the AAM.  It took four long years to earn this distinction, but with it the AAM verified that the Museum met national industry standards of excellence in all aspects of its responsibilities including governance, staffing, sustainability and stewardship of the collection entrusted to its care.
Chairman Mitchell Cypress and Historic Resources Officer Tina Osceola at Accreditation Press Conference

June found staff from the Museum attending the Smithsonian’s Affiliation Conference held in Washington DC.  Because of the long standing relationship the Museum had with the Smithsonian, the Museum became an official affiliate member in April of 2009, which allowed staff to attend the conference.  Affiliate museums from across the country also attended, which allowed for some excellent opportunities in networking. 

In July, Native Words, Native Warrior closed at our Big Cypress facility which allowed for a new exhibit to open in the space.  The Randle/Sheffield Collection: Life Along the Tamiami Trail in the 1940’s and 1950’s was loaned to the Museum by the South Florida Community College Museum of Florida Art and Culture for exhibit until January 2010.  This exhibit is based upon the photography of Florence Randle who was a commercial photographer with a studio in Coconut Grove in the 1940’s. She and her niece, Phyllis Sheffield would often spend their weekends photographing the Seminole people who lived along the Tamiami Trail.  The exhibit shows some excellent images of the Seminole people which have never been shown before in the Big Cypress facility. 

Randle Sheffield Opening July 2009

Fall of 2009 continued to be a busy time, with the Museum celebrating the one year anniversary of the exhibit, Cattle Keepers:  the Heritage of Seminole Cattle Ranching.  Because of the popularity of this exhibit, it will remain open until September 2010.  Staff also represented the Museum at various conferences including the Florida Association of Museums conference, held in Sarasota, Florida, and the Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums conference in Portland, Oregon.  At both of these conferences Museum staff presented on various aspects of the Museum, including disaster planning, the accreditation process, and the oral history program.  

In November the Museum was proud to host the 12th annual American Indian Arts Celebration (AIAC).  The event took place from November 6, 7, and 8 on the festival grounds across from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Reservation.  During the festival the Museum hosted an authentic American Indian market, food vendors, children’s craft corner, dance demonstrations, story telling and alligator wrestling.  Also special performances by the award winning Yellowbird Apache Dancers, featuring Kevin Duncan the current world champion teen hoop dancer. The event ended each day with a musical performances by renowned Native American reggae artist and singing sensation CASPER and the 602 Band.

This was just a quick review of some of the larger events that occurred in 2009 for the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.  Stay tuned to our website, blog, and Facebook page for what we have planned in 2010!

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