The board of the Union County Historical Society has voted to hire an architect and move ahead on plans to more than double the size of the Union County Heritage Museum.
It was a bold move, but clearly was the right one for our community. The museum has become a quality small museum under the leadership of the board and especially that of its executive director, Jill Smith. It is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, the Mississippi Museum of Art and many other institutions and associations.
The problem today is that success has brought the museum artifacts and donations that are packed away because there is no space to put them on display.
The museum has the Coffey Family collection (Murray Coffey now lives here) of about 800 volumes including one of the most impressive collections of Faulkner books (including first editions), poems, short stories and other materials in Southeast. The collection also includes a set of first editions by local author, Borden Deal.
And it has stored away the Chico Foote collection of approximately 30 mounts from his African and Alaskan expeditions. Only the tiger is on display near the front entrance of the museum.
Included in the expansion plan are additional display rooms, a library, and a large meeting room for museum events. The expansion is likely to cost more than $750,000 and exhibits and furnishings mike require another $500,000.
Fundraising isn’t easy, but we think it can be done. There’s no reason to wait. Standing still is moving backward in today’s world.
Capitalizing on our heritage and our tourism economy is vital to our future.