The Skone Family Conservatory housing the Humphrey Center for American Indian Studies will open Friday at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. in the library at the invitation-only event.
The public is invited to an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 26.
CLC houses a collection of about 300 artifacts and volumes on the culture of Ojibwe, Cree and Lakota people left to the school by the late Pete Humphrey, who once taught anthropology courses at the college. He died in 1996.
Humphrey was a lifelong Brainerd resident who was devoted to building bridges between Indian and non-Indian worlds.
As part of his effort to educate people about indigenous culture, Humphrey developed a collection that he hoped would be a catalyst for increasing understanding and tolerance. He turned to CLC to continue his mission.
The late Pete Humphrey was devoted to uniting Indian and non-Indian worlds. An Indian museum opening at Central Lakes College is named for Humphrey, who taught at CLC.
The Humphrey Center for American Indian Studies project began when Humphrey offered his lifetime collection of American Indian cultural materials and books to the college through the CLC Foundation.
"Central Lakes College is now pleased to present the completed Phase I of the Humphrey Center," said President Joe Birmingham, who added that Phase II is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2004. The final phase will be completed as funding becomes available.
"Pete Humphrey spent countless hours and untold resources sharing at every opportunity his knowledge and love of traditional native culture," said Sharon Fodness, anthropology instructor and coordinator of the project.
She has overseen remodeling to create a secure exhibit space that respects American Indian tradition and spirituality and complies with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. In addition, the project required artifact preservation and labeling, interpretive text editing and verifications of descriptions.
"We have been fortunate to receive guidance from a consulting team of Ojibwe advisers to ensure proper disposition of sacred pieces," Fodness added.
The Skone Family Conservatory was developed through generous funding from Terry Skone, a member of the CLC Foundation Board of Trustees, and his family.
The conservatory is located adjacent to the CLC Learning Resource Center and was designed primarily to house the Humphrey Center for American Indians Studies. It also offers space for conferences, a study area for students of American Indian culture and history, and a place where the CLC Anishinabe Club can meet.
"Without the Skone family interest and ongoing support, this beautiful addition to our campus would not have been possible," said Diane Scearcy, foundation director.
The open house Sept. 26 will include drumming and refreshments.
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