Making a special home for tribal history.
Walking hand-in-hand with the appreciation of a unique culture is the need to preserve its artifacts. FSB is assisting Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Nation with this critical task, through the design of the new Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center Aa-Ashaachi’.
Supplementing the current archive building, the new single-story facility doubles the capacity of the existing Holisso Building and will be dedicated to the conservation, treatment and storage of tribal artifacts and artwork. Its primary spaces include an artifact/conservation/treatment lab, a photography area and climate-controlled preservation storage rooms. In consideration of Oklahoma’s unpredictable climate, these storage rooms feature hardened walls, allowing them to protect these irreplaceable artifacts from severe weather. Two-toned earth colors on the building’s exterior aesthetically blend with the adjacent center.
Of particular significance is the conservation viewing workroom, complete with gallery, which gives visitors the opportunity to interactively learn about the process of restoring and preserving these tribal artifacts. Another special feature of the building is a Spiritual Cleansing Room, a relaxed, soothing and private area where tribal members can perform ceremonies designed to purify recovered artifacts. The area also will be available to those who are donating items and who wish to say a ceremonial or private farewell.
In order to protect these often-fragile items against insects and other threats, the center establishes a clear flow-through pattern for artifacts entering the facility. Designated “clean” and “dirty” sides of the house provide spaces where decontamination and cataloguing can take place prior to artifacts entering the building’s storage and conservation areas, thus ensuring that each item is properly protected. Rounding out the facility are administrative offices, a registrar’s office, a loading dock and a receiving/storage area.
The interior design for Aa-Ashaachi was inspired by colors and textures found in nature, utilizing earth tones of brown, warm gray and cream, with accents of rust and cherrywood throughout. Wood-wrapped columns, wood-look vinyl flooring and mosaic tiles blending stone and glass emphasize natural textures while providing a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Once completed, this new facility will allow the tribe to continue expanding its unique collection, for the benefit of future generations.