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.
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.
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.