Stewart Indian Museum director heads for Washington D.C. and lunch at the White House

Sheila Abbe, director of the Stewart Indian Museum, will be in Washington D.C. , on Monday for lunch with first lady Hillary Clinton.

She said it's in honor of her efforts to protect Stewart, which is listed as one of "America's Treasures." She said she fully intends to make as much use of the trip as possible.

"I'm going to say I've got a treasure here that's in trouble," she said. "We need help."

Stewart was recognized by the America's Treasures program with a grant that is helping to pay for restoration of the auditorium building and support a program that uses prison inmate labor to do the work.

"I'm going a day early and I'm staying a day late," she said. "I'm going to turn this into a fund-searching mission while I'm there."

That means stops at the Smithsonian Native American Museum, the National Trust and Institute of Museum and Library Services, among other possible sources for grant money.

She said she received the invitation just last week and might not have been able to afford the trip if not for state Tourism Commission and Tourism Director Tom Tait, who is paying her plane fare and hotel bills.

"This is an opportunity for exposure," she said.

Abbe wants to turn Stewart into a complex honoring and presenting Native American history to the public and combine that with plans to make the entire area into a destination for tourists interested in the history of the American West.

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