Guest Blogger: Dixie

Hello everyone, here is a quick update on what is happening at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center!

The new Historical/Alumni Center addition is complete! Visitors can now access the museum through the new front entrance.

The exhibits for the Historical Center are in the process of being fabricated by Split Rock Studios.  The installation process is scheduled for December 2012 – February 2013. Split Rock Studios will be working on site during this time; I understand that the exhibit installation is an interesting process and invite everyone to stop over and explore the progress.

Over the past few weeks, we have moved our museum collection out of the old storage building into our new collection storage space.  Sara C. our Curator/Conservator has moved into her lab space and will now begin the process of re-housing our collection in our new space.

Last week we were busy dismantling museum exhibits and moving out of the museum classroom and Collector’s Gallery, preparing for the next phase of the construction project.

This week, Phase II began! The contractors started enclosing the space to the east side of the museum that will undergo renovation.   In this area we will be removing the reception desk and expanding the Camp Circle story line to chronicle the importance of childhood and adolescence among the Plains tribes.  The Collector’s Gallery area will be opened up to make room for the additional exhibits. The existing entrance and bathrooms will be removed and replaced with additional gift shop space.

There is still a lot of site work and landscaping that needs to be done around the building; some of this work is in progress now and some will be delayed until next spring.

The museum will remain open to the public during this construction phase, though there will be periods of time that will require us to close.

Throughout this project we have relied heavily on assistance from our Facilities team and I would like to thank Tom, Gary, Quentin and their staff for all they have done.   We have a great Facilities crew; no matter what the task is they get right after it.  Thank you!


Hau, Taŋyáŋ yahi – Greetings from everyone at the Akta Lakota Museum

Construction continues . . . (Read the previous construction update here!)

The Alumni/Historical Center has made great progress!
Medicine Wheel Garden Site

The addition of the new Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi (We stood here in the beginning) Alumni/Historical Center has made great progress since July.  Most of the structure’s exterior work is complete and contractors are now busy working on the interior of the building.

At this point we are really in the final stages, installing lights, cabinets and wall and floor coverings.  The final completion date of the project is scheduled for October 1 and everyone is getting excited to move in.

Once the building construction is complete, we will begin Phase II of the project. This includes installation of the Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi exhibits and renovation work to the existing museum building and exhibits.

Mni Wićoni - water is life
Mni Wićoni – water is life

Other projects going on outside of the building are the addition of a Medicine Wheel Garden and the expansion of our parking lot; the museum and the Rec Center share a parking lot and things get pretty tight during the school year when sporting activities are in full swing.  In an effort to alleviate the problem the parking area will be expanded, adding additional parking spaces and a specific area designated for bus parking.  The improvement to the site will make the area much safer for our students and visitors.

This Medicine Wheel Garden area is shaping up as well.  The water wall element was installed last month and looks beautiful. The wall is inscribed with the Lakota words Mni Wićoni which translates to “water is life.”  The glu-lam beams for the arbor are in place and the pre-cast colors of the medicine wheel have been installed.  It is really progressing nicely.

Akta Lakota Museum Front Entrance
Akta Lakota Museum Front Entrance

If you are planning to visit our area please don’t let our construction scare you away.  As construction progresses we will continue to maintain regular museum hours as much as possible and extend a heartfelt welcome to everyone! We hope you can stop by and check out our progress.

Pilamayathank you!  Dixie

Guest Blogger: Dixie

Ahh, the Dog Days of Summer are here! The heat does not seem to be slowing progress on the construction of the new Historical & Alumni Center at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center.

Architect rendering of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Historical & Alumni Center – outside view
Architect rendering of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Historical & Alumni Center – outside view

For those not familiar with the project we broke ground in October of 2011 on the new Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi – We Stood Here in the Beginning – Historical and Alumni Center.   The Historical Center will preserve the memories of St. Joseph’s Indian School and share accomplishments of the students, religious staff and benefactors. The center will house historical and contemporary artifacts from St. Joseph’s past and present, and serve as a place where alumni can share their stories and stay involved with programs.

Other aspects of the project include an outdoor Medicine Wheel Garden of Healing. This space is intended to positively impact the well-being of St. Joseph’s students and alumni by integrating sculpture, with its healing and spiritual qualities, into the heart of the St. Joseph’s Indian School. The garden will also give students, alumni and visitors a peaceful and inspirational respite from their daily routines.

Architect rendering of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Historical & Alumni Center – floor plan
Architect rendering of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Historical & Alumni Center – floor plan

The final portion of the project is a new storage facility for the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center’s fine art and historical artifact collection.  The climate-controlled storage facility will house portions of the permanent collection when not on display, ensuring their preservation for future generations.

All three projects are an expansion of our current Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, which has been preserving the rich Lakota (Sioux) culture for students, visitors and staff of St. Joseph’s Indian School since 1991.

Phase 2 of the project includes installation of the Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi Historical Center exhibits, updating the Akta Lakota Museum’s existing exhibits and the installation of an energy efficient LED lighting system, as well as updates to our gift shop and parking lot areas.  Work in these areas will not begin until fall 2012, with all project work scheduled for completion in May 2013.

As construction progresses, we will continue to maintain regular museum hours as much as possible.  However there will be brief periods of time that require us to be closed as we strive to be good stewards of our collections and ensure a safe and comfortable viewing environment for our visitors.

View the project scrapbook now!