Ray, Christine, and John Fadden opened the Museum for its first season during the summer of 1954. The wood that went into the lumber of the initial structure was milled at a local saw mill from trees felled by Ray Fadden.
The museum, originally two rooms large, expanded to four rooms producing a building approximately 80′ x 20′. The Museum’s design reflects the architecture of a traditional Haudenosaunee (Six Iroquois Nations Confederacy) bark house. The long bark house is a metaphor for the Six Nations Confederacy, symbolically stretching from East to West across ancestral territory.
The Six Nations are: The Mohawks are the Keepers of the Eastern Door, the Senecas are the Keepers of the Western Door, the Onondagas are the Fire Keepers and the Oneidas, Cayugas, and Tuscaroras (admitted into the Confederation in the early 18th century) are the Younger Brothers.The Museum houses a myriad of pre-contact, and post-contact artifacts, contemporary arts and crafts, diagrammatic charts, posters, and other items of Haudenosaunee culture. The objects within the Museum are primarily representative of the Haudenosaunee, but there are representations of other Native American cultures as well.
There are many objects within the museum. The floors are decorated with Haudenosaunee symbol & motif, and within the rooms are cases exhibiting artifacts. The walls are laden with informative charts, beaded belts, paintings and other indigenous items of interest. Up into the peaked ceiling of each room are representations of Native America as they are covered with artifacts including canoes, baskets, tools, beadwork, feathered headgear, Native clothing, and posters.