The Chilkat Indian Village’s Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center took a major step toward completion this month after the Rasmuson Foundation voted to grant the project $750,000.

The funds will go toward interior construction of the facility, including dry walling, installation of a fire suppression system, and electrical and mechanical work, said project manager Lani Hotch.

Construction of the facility stalled in October when funds for the project ran dry, Hotch said. The plan has been to do as much as possible with the resources available, and that strategy has largely succeeded, with new grants rolling in at the most dire times, she said.

With the $750,000 boon, the project can get back on track. “We’re just going to pick up where we left off with our contractors and our architects,” Hotch said.

The Rasmuson Foundation Board of Directors visited the heritage center in June before voting on the village’s grant application on July 1. “I think the board really understands the importance of the artifacts that are currently in possession of the community,” said Cassandra Stalzer, the Rasmuson Foundation’s communications director.

Those artifacts include the legendary Whale House carvings, which will make up one of four major exhibits at the center. The center will also feature a cultural landscapes map, a subsistence exhibit, and an exhibit on Chilkat weaving and weavers.

Hotch received more good news this spring when the Bureau of Indian Affairs said the village could use $1.1 million it had saved in tribal transportation funds on the project. Hotch looked into the question of whether the heritage center qualified for BIA funds at the urging of Rasmuson Foundation program officer Jayson Smart.

“To me it was just a godsend to have that money at the tribal level,” Hotch said. “We had it, but we didn’t know it could be used for that.”

The $1.1 million approved by the village council paired with the $750,000 from the Rasmuson Foundation puts the project closer to its roughly $7 million final price tag, but Hotch is still waiting to hear about other grant applications, including a potential $600,000 from the Murdoch Charitable Trust.

Last month, the village received $107,000 from the Surdna Foundation for the commission of six original artworks for the facility’s cultural landscape exhibit.