Museum Seeking Funds For Cabin

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - August 3, 2011

The Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum asked the Board of Supervisors for an additional $7,000 for fiscal 2012 on Monday to help fund the renovation of a Neshoba County Fair cabin donated in 2007.

The museum plans to restore the structure as closely as possible to an original Fair cabin and open it for tours. It is adjacent to the museum off Water Avenue.

Alice Rowe, a member of the museum's Board of Directors, said it was estimated to cost about $80,000 to make the Fair cabin "museum worthy."

She asked supervisors to increase the county's share of the museum budget from $18,000 to $25,000 for FY 2012.

"We are saving our pennies and that is why we are asking for more," Rowe said.

She told supervisors the museum board had about $55,000 set aside for the renovation project but noted that a new roof was also needed on the museum.

She said since the addition of the Marty Stuart, Otis Rush and Foots Baxstrum rooms, the board has had to increase the amount of insurance it had on the structure.

The museum's budget for 2012 totals $361,195.

Numerous visitors tour the museum throughout the year, Rowe said, noting that one recently called it "the best small museum in Mississippi."

She told supervisors that directors have tried to ensure that the museum exhibits are unique from those seen in other communities.

"Nobody else can do a Fair house," she said.

Plans call for the Fair cabin to be made handicapped accessible, be resealed and air-conditioned. The project would also require electrical work though no plumbing is planned.

"We are trying to save our money," Rowe said. "Now is not the time to go to the community and ask for money."

David and Kay Walker of Dallas, Texas, donated the cabin initially to the Tourism Council in 2007.

The council paid $4,000 to have the cabin moved from the Fairgrounds to the Depot where they planned to utilize it as a promotional tool for the Fair.

However, after a controvery erupted, and the Historic Preservation Commission formally asked that work be stopped on the structure until an application was submitted as required by ordinance, the Tourism Council donated the cabin to the museum.

By Debbie Burt Myers

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