For many of us, our state historic sites are hidden treasures. While they may be significant pieces of our state’s past, they often seem too distant and inconsequential to our busy lives. Perhaps part of this is because of how difficult it can be to connect with the lives of those who have gone before us. They lived in other worlds leading lives filled with cultural differences so far removed from our own that finding ways to relate, much less recognizing their importance, seem dismal.
This is why Friends has been spending months transforming and upgrade New Echota State Historic Site’s interpretive capabilities so that every guest has the opportunity to understand and connect with the Cherokees who once inhabited this beautiful area. Friends worked to create electronic based tours so that when you walk onto the site, you can simply pull out your smart phone and be connected to ages past. Through audio and video enhancements, anyone is able to engage in the Cherokee culture as you tour the cabins, council house, supreme court house, Worcester house, tavern and print shop. From students to families and individuals, the audio tours are designed to capture the attention of all ages. You will quickly find that these ingenious people were not so unlike us, or the lives we live today. In fact, you will find that we have much to learn from this rich culture. Thanks to these enhancements, Friends has bridged a significant gap in the interpretive experience of each guest.
In addition to these interpretive upgrades, Friends of New Echota was also able to make upgrades to the site museum. Additional items are now part of the exhibits including authentic Cherokee baskets, pottery and other pieces significant to the Cherokee culture. Depleting state budgets prevented the site from being able to provide these upgrades and benefits, but thanks to the charitable efforts of Friends volunteers, our donors and members, Friends is working hard to ensure that the guest experience remains a quality one and that the historic integrity of the site is preserved.
Thank you to all who are partnering with Friends to preserve and enhance our cultural and natural resources. Because of your support, we will continue to bridge the gap from yesterday’s past to tomorrow’s future.