Museum to showcase additions
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 12:00 AM
Two recently completed exhibits will be showcased Monday when the Historical Museum on Water Avenue celebrates its rededication and open house after 20 years of operation.
The open house, from 1 to 3 p.m., follows a five-month renovation at the museum at 303 Water Ave.
Visitors to the open house will tour the recently renovated Fair cabin with its numerous exhibits as well as a new military room in the original museum.
Despite the ongoing renovations, the museum has remained open to visitors. Over the past 22 months, the museum has drawn visitors from 23 states and five foreign nations including Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. It also is becoming a popular destination for field trips for schools.
The museum encompasses three buildings. Its newest building is a circa 1950s cabin from the Neshoba County Fair, donated by David and Kay Russell Walker of Dallas, Texas, in 2007.
It contains artifacts related to the Fair, the only remaining campground fair in the world.
Also in the museum is an expanding collection of art relating to Neshoba County, most of it by local artists. In the oldest and main building of the museum there is a painting by popular and well-known local artist, the late Edna Mayo.
This building's newest rooms are tributes to acclaimed musicians with Neshoba County roots including Marty Stuart, a leader in the movement to preserve country music heritage, and bluesmen Hugh Lewis "Foots" Backstrum and Otis Rush.
This building also includes the newly renovated military room containing artifacts from the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Vietnam War and the Iraq War.
The museum's Annex Building includes displays of handmade quilts and agricultural equipment as well as artifacts from the Washington, D.C. office of the late Congressman Arthur Winstead, a Neshoba countian who was widely known as a supporter of farmers, agriculture and rural families.
Neshoba County and the City of Philadelphia are financial supporters of the museum, which is governed by a volunteer council.
The current members of the council are retired educator and historian Tim Croswell; author, historian, and retired businessman Steven H. Stubbs; retired educator and Baptist minister the Rev. Mack Alford, and artist, photographer and retired legislative policy analyst Dorothy L. Thomas.
Stubbs also is the museum's curator.
Zula Shackelford and Marguerite Stuart provide tours of the museum, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The museum, which has free admittance, was established in 1992 as a site for preserving the history of Neshoba County and Philadelphia. The original museum building was constructed shortly after the Civil War by George Pegram Woodward.
It was most recently known as the Fields house, after the family that lived there for almost 70 years.