The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939 Page: 118
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The project was started in October of 1935 and completed in
the early summer of 1938.
2. OSAGES DEDICATE ONLY INDIAN-OWNED MUSEUM
So far as known, the only Indian Museum in the world owned
by an Indian tribe was dedicated in early May, 1938, by the
Osages at Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
Much rich material has already been assembled for the museum
and much more is in the process of being collected so that, when
rounded out, it will form what will be in its way a priceless
collection of material regarding a once numerous but now a fast
Included in the collection are documents, such as treaties, old
photographs, tribal costumes, handicraft objects, paintings, and
even sound recordings to preserve the legends, language, and cus-
toms of the once mighty race of hunting Indians.
Construction of the museum is the result of a project of the
Works Progress Administration, sponsored by the Osage tribal
council. It is a restoration of the old chapel and school building,
built of native sandstone, and, with the exception that it is of one
instead of two stories as in the original, it is an exact duplication
of the old building, even to the cupola and the large brass bell
which was used in the old days to summon the Indian children
to school and to worship.
Efforts to obtain a museum were begun by the Osage tribal
council about fifteen years ago after it had purchased the collec-
tion of John Bird, early day Indian trader. This collection, con-
sisting of more than 100 pieces, including such things as a small
turtle shell love charm and a rare sacred scalp, was stored in the
vaults of the Indian agency. Successive efforts of the tribal council
to obtain a museum failed until a WPA project was approved,
chiefly through the efforts of John Joseph Mathews, the well known
author who is a member of the council. Federal expenditures on
the museum were $25,000.
After construction was started, an art project was approved and
Todros Geller, Chicago painter who had spent some time in the
Southwest studying and painting Indians, was engaged to come to
Pawhuska, to supervise the art part of the collection and to paint
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939, periodical, 1939; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101107/m1/132/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.