The City of Oklahoma City, the State of Oklahoma and a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation have closed on land agreements enabling the completion and operation of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum (AICCM).
Construction will restart this summer and will take about two years to complete. Exhibits and other interior finishes will take another year to install. The museum is scheduled to open in 2021.
Construction stopped six years ago on the museum, which sits at the junction of Interstates 35 and 40 in the heart of Oklahoma City and in the heart of Indian Country, when State funding ran out.
“It’s exciting to say the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum is headed toward completion,” said Mayor Mick Cornett. “In a few years, we’ll share the rich culture and proud history of Oklahoma’s Native Americans with the world through one of the nation’s finest museums. We would not be here today without the City’s partnership with the Chickasaw Nation and we’re all looking forward to the day the finished facility opens its doors.”
The Chickasaw Nation subsidiary involved in the agreements is AICCM Land Development, LLC.
“This is another important milestone in our journey to fulfill the vision of a world-class facility which will tell the powerful and significant story of Native Americans in Oklahoma,” said Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby. “We appreciate all the leaders of Oklahoma City, the State of Oklahoma and others who share our belief that investment in the cultural center and surrounding development will offer great returns in the form of educational benefits as well as economic development. We appreciate our supporters across the state who continue to share our vision of a world-class facility which will tell the story of Native Americans in Oklahoma while serving as a hub for tourism, economic development and job creation.”
Gov. Anoatubby is the board chairman of the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority (NACEA).
“We sincerely appreciate the open and frank dialogue with representatives of the City of Oklahoma City as we worked through the complex due diligence phase of the project,” said Bill Lance, Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce. “The property rights and environmental concerns required more thorough reviews due to the unusual nature of the original platting and the fact this land is along the Oklahoma River. We are excited to move forward on the next phase and continuing our dialogue with city officials as we firm up development plans that complement the comprehensive plans for the museum.”
The agreements required a close collaboration between the Chickasaw Nation and the City.
“We look forward to AICCM Land Development’s work on the development of the property surrounding the AICCM. This week’s closings would not have been possible without committed cooperation by all parties,” said Henry. “As we continue our work to develop the full potential of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, we are grateful for the involvement of the City of Oklahoma City and AICCM Land Development, as well as our many other partners, and look forward to many years of successful collaboration.”
The State of Oklahoma created the NACEA in 1994 to study, build and operate the AICCM.
The State originally issued $63 million in bonds for construction, but the project was suspended when funding ran out in 2012. The AICCM has sat partially finished ever since.
The City, State and AICCM Land Development approved agreements that were finalized this week regarding finishing the AICCM, ownership, operation and development of the museum and surrounding property.
The estimated cost to finish building the AICCM is $65 million. The City will contribute $9 million, the State will contribute $25 million in additional bond proceeds and the AICCM Foundation will contribute at least $31 million through private donations.
The AICCM Foundation will operate the museum on behalf of the City, and the AICCM Land Development will develop the surrounding property. The Chickasaw Nation will contribute $14 million over the next seven years to support operational costs, including pre-opening costs. The Chickasaw Nation also committed its expertise and resources to help ensure budget targets are met.
Once the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum is completed it will be an epic indoor/outdoor adventure for the entire family. It will include one-of-a-kind exhibits, hands-on educational programs, first-hand accounts and cultural demonstrations celebrating the collective histories and contemporary cultural expressions of Oklahoma’s original peoples.
The outdoor cultural park where the plains, prairies and wetlands converge provide an intimate connection with the natural environment such as earth, wind, water and fire used to interpret American Indian perspectives.