Museum expands hours, attractions

Published 5:00 am Monday, March 30, 2009

MONTICELLO – New hours and a salute to hometown heroes highlightmajor growth at the Lawrence County Civic Center and RegionalHistorical Museum.

The museum began opening regularly from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.Monday through Friday in early January. It was previously onlyopened two afternoons a week and on request.

The museum has also expanded through the opening of a MilitaryRoom dedicated to Lawrence County service members, which wasdedicated on Feb. 15.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We have a whole lot of things we wish people would come by andsee. It’s a lot of history,” said afternoon manager NellHarrison.

Staffing to provide regular hours at the museum is providedthrough Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Job Search Program, saidCharles Bufkin, a member of the civic center board ofdirectors.

Harrison and morning manager Kathy Boudreaux work at the museumwhile seeking more permanent employment. Their time at the museumis limited to one year in the program before they will bereplaced.

“This is a wonderful program for us,” Bufkin said. “We couldn’tafford to pay a staff without this program. It was all voluntaryuntil now.”

Voluntary service was also a key component in the creation ofthe Military Room, which was designed to honor Lawrence County’snative war heroes, Bufkin said. All of the material was provided byservice members or their families.

Popular attractions include the uniforms and apparel of ArmyMaj. Gen. E.A. “Beby” Turnage and a display devoted to LawrenceCounty’s only flying ace – Capt. Arnold E. Vinson.

Vinson was also the first U.S. Spitfire ace in the Mediterraneantheater of operations. He was downed over Tunisia, North Africa, in1943 and his body was never recovered.

The Military Room was dedicated to the late Johnny Clyde Readyduring its opening Feb. 15. Ready, who commanded the county’sAmerican Legion Post No. 27 until his death, provided encouragementand support for the creation of the room.

The displays in the room were made locally, Bufkin said.

The museum also now includes the historical files of the lateAnita Clinton for public purview. Clinton served as the county’sunofficial historian for decades and was widely recognized for herknowledge of the area’s past.

“She spent her whole life studying Lawrence County,” Harrisonsaid. “I don’t think anyone knew more about Lawrence County thanshe did.”

The files are divided by subject matter for easy reference,although that remains a work in progress, she said.

The museum provides displays and information covering thecounty’s history from inception to the present. As one ofMississippi’s earliest counties, the museum also includes someearly history of Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and other counties thatwere eventually split off from Lawrence.