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Eleven years of sharing history with anticipation of growth

by Minden Press-Herald

Special to the Minden Press-Herald

“Moving Forward” is the theme for 2019.  The annual fundraiser gala is fast approaching its September 9th, 2019 date.  This evening consists of a silent auction with heavy hors devours.  Cost is $25 prepay (by September 6th, 2019) and $30 at the door the day of event.  Helping the museum with a silent auction item is a great way to highlight your business.  These items can consist of gift baskets, gift certificates, art work, handmade items, services such as lawn work, haircuts, facials, tire rotations, cakes, cookies, etc.  Through the years the museum has had a wide array of items to pick from.  If you have questions about what you can donate or need an item to be picked up or dropped off you have until the Sept 3rd, 2019 deadline.  You can call 318-377-3002 for information.

This year the Dorcheat Historical Museum is celebrating its Eleventh Anniversary of sharing Webster Parish history at 116 Pearl Street.  In 2007 work began to push forward with a museum that could stand the test of time.  “I would say that after eleven years and countless visitors and guest at the museum we have certainly stood the test of time!” stated museum director Schelley Francis.  Francis went on to say, “Our goal for the next few years is to complete our expansion in the adjoining building.  This building will double our size and give us much needed storage, office, and even more exhibit space.  Some of the exhibits we hope to complete and expand on in the new area will be an exhibit for each community, area and town in Webster parish, Minden St. Jude Auction, Civil Rights Era in Webster parish, Black History in Webster Parish, Women’s clubs, Men’s organizations and clubs, Christmas time, Cemeteries, Ada Jack Carver Snell, Ben Earl Looney, Scouting, Summer Memories, Railroads, Doctors and Hospital, Webster Parish Fair Grounds, Railroads, and so much more.  We have so many stories to tell we never will have enough space.”

Today the museum is enjoyed by visitors far and wide.  From classroom fieldtrips, travel bus tours, red hat ladies, churches, scouting, and retirement center groups we have had thousands of visitors in the last 11 years.  What people see today including the building that we were able to purchase next door is roughly $500,000 spent. That includes the purchase of the buildings, the renovation, the inside construction and exhibit work as well as the new roofs and heat and air units.  Schelley commented, “We pay as we go! We will never jeopardize what has been built by over spending on future project.  We have had many driving forces over the last eleven years behind the museum succeeding.  All of these board members that have served from 2007 – 2019 have been determined to leave a legacy of not only their family history but everyone else’s too.  We have had a great working board all along the way since 2007.”

The 2019 board members include the following people; Louise Snook as President, Marcel Vandenoord as Vice-President, Janet LaBruyere as Treasurer, Ann Harlan as recording secretary, John Agan Webster Parish Historian, Eddie Hammontree Museum archivist, Charlotte Martin, Richard Campbell, Cora Lou Robinson, Ki Williams, Becky Marvin, Janice Mourad, Kay Elzen, Ben Baldwin, Lola Morgan, Jo McCullough, Charlotte Jones, Mary Ann Hamilton, Lucy Adkins, and Rachel Miller.

Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M., closed from 1-2 for lunch then open from 2:00 P.M. – 4 P.M., also opened on Saturday for group tours that are arranged by appointment at least one week prior.  Contact Schelley Francis at 318-423-0192 for more info.

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