Semple Family Museum of Native American Art

Durant, OK

Inspired by a collection of Native American Art and the dream of the Semple Family to provide a meaningful place for inspiration and education, the museum became a reality in the Fall 2021. Southeastern State University provided a 3-acre site backing up to a native forest adjacent to campus. The museum will be the permanent home of two extensive collections donated to the university in the late 1990’s. The art consists of paintings, drawings, sculpture, pottery, and batik pieces that were donated from several sources, starting with a large donation of 93 pieces by Charles W. and Miriam Hogan in the 1990s. A later donation from Brad Keithley brought the collection to over 130 pieces, but has seldom been seen by the community due to the lack of appropriate exhibition space.

The design of the Museum was inspired by a previous mid-century home that occupied the site and the desire to rest quietly against the native forest. The building also overlooks and has a connection with an adjacent amphitheater built in the 30’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Semple Brown Architects implemented clerestory windows and deep overhangs to create diffused daylighting throughout the space. The Clerestory windows allow natural light to fill the galleries without glare and provide extensive hanging space for artwork. The facility includes gallery space, education space and support facilities for events and receptions that will make the Museum a community gathering place as well as a state-of-the-art museum.

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