Thursday, March 15, 2007
Museum work nears completion
By STEPHANIE WASHINGTON
The Marshall County Historical Museum will soon reopen its doors to the public as renovation work on the building is near completion. According to Lois Swanee, the curator and founder, the museum will reopen in July.
The museum building, which covers about 7,200 square feet, and consists of three floors and 22 rooms, will now have a new roof, plus an elevator that will be installed in the future, said Swanee.
The museum operation is county funded, and the renovation cost is taken care of by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
The mayor of Holly Springs, Andre’ DeBerry, however, said short of direct funding, the city had helped the museum with some technical issues and in securing grants from state government and other agencies.
The three main museums in Holly Springs, that include the Ida B. Wells Gallery, the Kate Freeman Clark Gallery and the Historical Museum, are a repository of Mississippi treasures, some of which predate the Civil War era. Swanee, with her foresight of starting up the historical museum, can take the credit for the efforts in preserving the heritage, relics and artifacts of the county.
She recounts that in 1970, she spotted a vacant building that the city was about to knock down due to abandonment. Proud of her city and its history, Swanee instead saw good use of the building and asked city officials if she could have it to start a museum.
“Since Holly Springs has so much history I thought that we should have somewhere to show it,” said Swanee.
Upon receiving permission, she established the historical museum with several heirlooms donated by different families. Items in the museum cover two world wars, with over 40,000 artifacts on display. The relics are categorized by room, and include toys, dolls, furniture, wildlife, quilts, clothing, weapons, monies, farm tools, photographs, artworks and Indian (Native American) items. It also features a wall of historical highlights sponsored by Rust College.
The museum is now temporarily relocated in a store-front space on the town’s main square while the permanent building is undergoing renovation.
“Even though we are not in the actual museum we still try to showcase. We are a member of the AAA rating society which is the highest ranked due to the museum’s excellence,” said Swanee.
The museum sponsors many activities such as the Christmas tour, history programs and county tours. All proceeds from these events go towards the museum upkeep. There is also a $2 entrance fee for touring the museum.
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