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Lawrence Co. Museum ready to open

MONTICELLO — The Lawrence County Regional History Museum willopen its doors to the public for the first time during aribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony Oct. 27 at 3 p.m.

Joan Hartzog, committee chairman of the museum, said thecommittee and volunteers who have helped in the non-profit museumwere excited about the grand opening.

The museum occupies the first floor of the Lawrence County CivicCenter, which was once Monticello High School, and is part of atotal renovation of that building. The top floor, which houses theauditorium, is almost complete and is often used for communityplays and other public functions.

A lot of work remains on the museum, Hartzog said, but the mainroom is almost completed and ready for viewing. Most of thedisplays are complete. Still to come are an exhibition room, seconddisplay room and a gift shop.

Displays ready for viewing include Early Native AmericanSettlements, Evolution of Lawrence County, Churches, EarlyHomesteads, Railroads, Early Leadership, Communities and FabricArts, among others.

The Native American display features arrowheads and spearpointsfrom early in the county’s history in a chronological display. TheNative Americans in Lawrence County may have predated the Natcheztribe.

The county’s evolution is chronicled in a series of large mapsthat show how Lawrence County was whittled down from being thelargest county in the territory to one of the smallest counties inthe state.

The displays of Cooper’s Ferry, Churches, Early Homesteads,Railroads, Communities a few others are composed of placards andpictures which detail their topic.

A display on early education in the county includes a number ofold textbooks and pictures.

Early Leadership is a display of larger-than-life cutouts ofsome of the people most influential to the county’s growth. Hartzogsaid the cutouts have informational placards that explain theperson’s importance.

Included in the display is information on Harmon Runnels,credited with founding Monticello, the influence of Andrew Jacksonand Stephen Douglas’ ties to the county. It also focuses on stategovernors who called Lawrence County home. A.H. Longino was anative of Monticello while Charles Lynch and Hiram Runnels camefrom elsewhere to settle in Monticello before being elected to thestate’s highest office.

Hartzog said she is especially excited about a display of apre-Civil War dress which was owned by Mary Sophia Graves Huffman,a Seminary teacher. She came to Monticello from Vermont as a youngwoman. The dress is made of a brown silk plaid and Hartzog said themuseum was lucky to acquire it.

“When the historical society bought the Longino House from FrankAllen, there were a lot of things left in there,” she said. “On theback porch in a trunk was this silk dress.”

Descendants who lived in the Longino House identified it. Theyremembered playing in it as children. Buddy Wilson donated an oldpicture of Huffman in a similar dress for the display.

The Fabric Arts display features a cotton counterpane, pillowshams and two quilts made by Mary Elizabeth Hartzog Boone. Theitems were made by cotton grown on the homeplace and donated by hernephew, Monroe Boone. In addition, the late Lena Myrtle Reiserdonated her baby dress from the early 1900s.

“We’re excited about our progress and the look of the museum andwe hope people will come out to the grand opening and share in ourexcitement and, maybe, learn a little about their county at thesame time,” Hartzog said.