FAM

FAQ

Planning a Visit

Monday 10–5 p.m.

Tuesday CLOSED

Wednesday 10–5 p.m.

Thursday 10–5 p.m.

Friday 10–5 p.m.

Saturday 11-5 PM

Sunday 11-5 PM

FAM is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the Crossroads of America, the confluence on Interstates 35, 40, 235 and 44. Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city in the state of Oklahoma, USA. FAM is positioned along the Oklahoma River across from downtown.

Address:
659 First Americans Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK 73129

Adults (13+) $15
Tribal, Senior (62+), Military, Student (13+) $10
Youth (4-12) $5
Child (3 & under) Free
Members Free—join today!

Admission is not required! FAMstore is open during regular museum hours. Click here for current restaurant and café hours.

Yes! FAM offers free on-site parking with accessible spots available.

Walk-in tours are included with admission and are offered to individual or family visitors at 1 p.m. each day. No registration needed! The museum is closed on Tuesdays.

FAM provides discounted ticket options for groups of 15 or more with three weeks notice. Click here to learn more.

FAM will begin school tours on Jan. 10, 2021! Click here to learn more and submit a reservation request.

Events and Programs

FAM offers programming year round. Check out our calendar for more details.

Absolutely! Little ones will enjoy the kids menu at Thirty Nine Restaurant and the youth-friendly Goodie Grove in FAMstore. We are also in the process of developing the FAMily Discovery Center. Click here to learn more or to make a donation to support the project!

FAM offers event rentals and catering. For details, email events@famok.org

About FAM

What to know about donating an item to First American Museum’s collections.

*DO NOT BRING ITEMS TO THE MUSEUM WITHOUT PRIOR STAFF APPROVAL*

Thank you for your interest in contributing to the collections at First Americans Museum (FAM), operated by the American Indian Cultural Center Foundation (AICCF). 

Each donation offer is thoughtfully considered by the Museum to determine if the gift is in line with FAM’s mission, acquisition criteria, and for which proper care can be provided.

If you are interested in donating to the collection, please read the Frequently Asked Questions below and complete an Acquisition Proposal Questionnaire Form.

What is FAM’s mission?

It is the mission of the First Americans Museum to serve as a living center for cultural expression promoting awareness and understanding for people regarding Oklahoma American Indian cultures and heritage.

What types of items does FAM collect?

Current collection priorities focus on the history, art, cultural lifeways, and contributions of the thirty-nine tribal nations in Oklahoma.  Consideration will be given to items from and about other tribes as a secondary tier that will address the broader cultural life of Oklahoma’s current tribal communities, which may include tribes represented by Oklahoma residents, tribes that are within the same cultural and linguistic network as Oklahoma’s tribes, and/or global Indigenous communities who are represented within Museum exhibitions or programming activities.

Collections at the Museum may include, but are not limited to:

  • Art (paintings, works on paper, sculpture, textiles, basketry, jewelry, digital art, etc.)
  • Culturally Based Items (musical instruments, regalia, tools, etc.)
  • Historical Items (military uniforms, memorabilia, instruments, items of historical interest related to our mission, etc.)
  • Library/Archival Items (film/video footage, photographic material, books and other published and unpublished documents, audio/sound recordings, digital items)

Are there items that FAM will not collect?

The Museum will not collect any of the following:

  • The Museum will not accept nor acquire human remains or funerary objects.
  • The Museum will not accept nor acquire items that are NAGPRA sensitive, including ceremonial items or otherwise items that are considered sacred or have cultural patrimony, without the written consent of the affiliated tribal community.
  • The Museum will not accept nor acquire precontact archaeological materials. (No arrowheads or lithics)

The Museum rejects unethical collecting practices, trafficking in cultural items or the illicit looting of cultural sites, all of which are contrary to the values of the Museum.   The Museum is committed to practicing the highest ethical and professional standards when acquiring items for our collections.

The Museum has an obligation to the tribal communities it serves as well as Indigenous peoples at large; and is committed to the responsible acquisition of cultural items, conducting consultations and garnering approval from the associated cultural entity when appropriate to do so.

In addition, the Museum does not, and will not, knowingly acquire any items in violation of the laws and regulations of the United States, including but not limited to the following:

  • Native Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA).
  • Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA).
  • National Stolen Property Act of 1948

A full list of laws and regulations pertaining to cultural resources can be found here:

https://www.doi.gov/museum/laws-and-regulations

How do I donate to FAM?

Step 1 – All donors must first obtain an Acquisition Proposal Questionnaire Form.

This form can be found on our website at www.famok.org or by emailing Donations@FAMok.org.

Step 2 – Complete the form and submit it via email to:

Donations@FAMok.org; or by mail to:  First Americans Museum

c/o Development Department

659 First Americans Blvd

Oklahoma City, OK 73129-6142

Step 3 – Once received, the Acquisition Proposal Questionnaire Form will be reviewed by FAM staff, who may contact the donor to follow up if necessary.

Step 4 – Acquisitions recommended by FAM staff will be reviewed by a Board Committee.  This committee will vote to accept or decline the offer.  The Committee’s recommendation will be reviewed by the Board of Directors for final approvals.

Step 5 – FAM staff will communicate the Board’s decision to the donor.  If accepted, the museum will accept custody of the item and the donor will complete a “Deed of Gift”.

How long does the process take?

Due to the number of offers we receive; it may take up to 6-9 months to administer the donation request. We will keep our potential donors informed throughout the donation process.

Can I send or bring my items to the museum immediately?

NO, FAM is not able to accept unsolicited items mailed or brought into the Museum. Please do not bring items to the Museum without prior staff approval. FAM reserves the right to dispose of any unsolicited items delivered to the museum as we see fit.

If you would like to donate to FAM, start the process by filling out our Acquisition Proposal Questionnaire Form. 

How will FAM use my donation if it is accepted for acquisition?

The Museum will use items in its collections for the following purposes:

  • Exhibitions
  • Research
  • Education and Public Programming
  • Public and Administrative Use
  • Community Outreach
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Promotion

FAM cannot guarantee that any donated item will be displayed to the public.  Only a small percentage of our collection is on view at any given time. Collection items that are not on display are kept in secure, climate-controlled storage areas to ensure preservation and may be used for any of the above purposes.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes, donations to FAM/AICCF are tax deductible.  It is the responsibility of the donor to establish a value of their donation for tax purposes.  FAM/AICCF cannot appraise the value of any item or recommend specific appraisers.  You may find a qualified appraiser by contacting the International Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America.

Can FAM appraise my items?

FAM/AICCF cannot appraise the value of any item or recommend specific appraisers.  You may find a qualified appraiser by contacting the International Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America. Do not bring items to the museum without prior approval from FAM staff.

Will FAM accept every donation that is offered?

No, unfortunately we cannot accept every donation that is offered.  All items offered to FAM must first undergo a thorough assessment process.  This process ensures that all newly acquired collection items are consistent with the scope of our collections, and that we can properly care for these items now and in the future.

What does FAM look for during the assessment process?

  • Does the item fit the mission and collecting scope of FAM?
  • Is it culturally ethical to collect this item?
  • Does the museum already have a similar item?
  • What is the physical condition of the item?
  • Is conservation work needed to preserve the item or make it suitable for exhibition?
  • Is the item better suited to the collection of another institution or tribal entity?
  • Are there costs associated with the care of the item?
  • Can the donor support the necessary costs of conservation and care?

What costs are associated with caring for an item in the collection?

There are a variety of costs associated with collections care and exhibition, some of these include:

  • Archival quality housing and storage supplies
  • Environmental climate control
  • Pest management
  • Conservation
  • Storage space
  • Professional staff time
  • Insurance

Does FAM ever purchase collections?

FAM may occasionally purchase items for its collection however, funding is limited.

Additional Questions?

Email Donations@FAMok.org

Mail:   First Americans Museum

         Attn: Development Department

         659 First Americans Blvd

         Oklahoma City, OK 73129-6142

Click here to send a message to the FAM curatorial staff.

 

DOWNLOAD ACQUISITION PROPOSAL QUESTIONNAIRE

39 First Americans Nations in Oklahoma Today
Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Caddo Nation, Cherokee Nation, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Comanche Nation, Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Eastern Shawnee Tribe, Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Indians, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Kaw Nation of Oklahoma, Kialegee Tribal Town, Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, Kiowa Tribe, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Modoc Tribe, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Osage Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Ottawa Tribe, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Sac & Fox Nation, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, Shawnee Tribe, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Tonkawa Tribe, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Wyandotte Nation.

Twelve Linguistic Families

Algonquian, Athapascan, Caddoan, Iroquoian, Tanoan, Muskogean, Penutian, Jiwere (Siouan), Dhegiha (Siouan), Tonkawan, Uchean, Uto-Aztecan

The museum originated as a project of the State of Oklahoma and is now being completed through a partnership between the State of Oklahoma and The City of Oklahoma City, with help of a Chickasaw Nation subsidiary, the American Indian Cultural Center Foundation, and numerous donors. The American Indian Cultural Center Foundation will operate the museum on behalf of the City, and AICCM Land Development, LLC will develop the surrounding property.

The iconic earthen mound pays tribute to the great mound-builder civilizations dating back to around 500 A.D. The walk to the top of the mound is steeped in metaphor, representing life’s journey and our relationship to the cosmos, including the movement of the sun, moon, and stars. The peak of the Mound is symbolic of the arduous journeys of triumph and tragedy experienced by Native peoples during removal to Indian Territory. Here, the visitor is rewarded with an incredible view of downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma River, and Boathouse District. The mound cradles the outdoor Festival Grounds featuring activities including powwows, stick-ball games, concerts, and cultural festivals.

This is one of the most visible architectural features on the site. It is located at the intersection of the earthen mound and man-made architecture taking its design inspiration from the traditional Wichita Grasshouse. The Wichita and Affiliated tribes were one of the tribes indigenous to this place. Structurally, the Hall of the People is comprised of ten columns with each column representing the estimated ten miles a day traveled daily by Native people from original homelands to Indian Territory, during forced removal. It provides a stunning view of the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and autumnal equinox. It serves as a programming space and also functions as the largest special events venue.This monumental entry also honors ancestors who made the courageous journey from tribal homelands across America to “Indian Territory.” The variation in stones serves as a metaphor for the distinction amongst nations who were removed to this place.

This east facing entry gate aligns with the rising sun. The two dramatic inclining walls rise to 40′ and are built from Mesquabuck stone. This stone characterized by its amber and white strata, carries the name of the Potawatomi Chief Mes’kwah-buk, whose name signifies the color of the sky at sunrise and sunset. 

Each tribe has its own name in their respective native language.
The way First Americans have been referred to by others has changed
over time.

• “Indians” was commonly used but is not historically accurate.

• “Native Americans” emerged but many nationalities born in America
considered themselves to be native Americans also.

• A shift to “American Indians” was embraced to infuse new layers
of meaning to the term.

• Younger generations have preferred the terms “Native” or “Indigenous.”
There is no one reference that can adequately address all the complexities
of so many diverse nations, in one name. First Americans Museum
(FAM) connects to the geographic location known today as the Americas.
We have always been here.

The museum aligns with the cardinal directions, as First Americans have done for thousands of years. Seasonal programming is planned during these special times of year to celebrate the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and autumnal equinox.

Johnson Fain Architects: Master Planning and Building Concepts, Los Angeles.
Hornbeek, Blatt Architects, Co-Prime, Edmond.

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