archives-collectionstsaliletterMuseum Archives

The Archives contain material pertaining to the Cherokee:

  • Four thousand books (some old and rare)
  • Thousands of photographs from the 1880s to the present
  • Manuscript materials c. 1830-present
  • William H. Thomas Collection–papers and diaries from 1834–1899
  • Nine hundred reels of microfilm of documents from foreign archives
  • Some original material in the Cherokee syllabary
  • Digital libraries online
    • King Research Collection: 30,000 pages of mostly primary source documents relating to the route of the Trail of Tears, used by NPS to determine route of long distance trail
    • Kinsland Collection: 6,000 pages of photos, clippings, and information about the Cherokee Boys Club and contemporary Cherokee life 1960-2007
    • Documenting Endangered Languages: 2,500 pages of Cherokee language materials collected on the Qualla Boundary 1887-1920, some in Cherokee syllabary. Click here for a chart to decipher cursive syllabary.
    • Cherokee photographs: more than 6,000 photographs

The Education and Research Wing is open by appointment. Museum members, qualified scholars may conduct research free of charge. Please make an appointment at least a week in advance with Atsei Cooper at or (828) 497-3481 ext. 1009. You may search our archival database online at: Museum Online Archival Catalog.

All exhibits, restrooms, Museum Store, and Education Wing are ADA accessible. Service animals are permitted.  Handicapped parking available is in front of entrance of Museum. Handicapped parking is available near the entrance to the Education Wing with ramp.

Archives Etiquette and Procedures for Visitors and Researchers

Please contact Assistant Registrar Atsei Cooper to schedule an appointment to view our archives at or 828-554-0479 (ext. 1009).

  • Please schedule at least 2 weeks in advance.
  • Visitors will be required to complete the Code of Conduct and Archives and Research Usage forms before scheduling an appointment.
  • Before scheduling your appointment, please send the assistant registrar object ID numbers for your research. It is not the assistant registrar’s duty to conduct research on your behalf – this is required to schedule your appointment.
  • Enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, or United Keetowah Band will be given scheduling preference with proof of enrollment (enrollment card required upon arrival for access to restricted materials).
  • If you need scans or reproductions for publications or research papers, there is a schedule of fees for this process. Please inform the Assistant Registrar.
  • Depending on material, some phone use is allowed. You may take pictures without flash. These pictures should be for personal use only to include in your citations. Use of images within published works requires separate pre-approved usage agreements.

How to Research on MCI’s Website

  • You can use keyword or advanced search.
  • Object ID is the first number in front of the object name, this is the number you will provide for the assistant registrar to schedule your visit.