HOUSTON – A dream that began more than 30 years ago opens its doors to Chickasaw County Saturday.
The Chickasaw County Genealogical and Historical Society hosted a two-hour preview of the Chickasaw Museum in Joe Brigance Park last week, in preparation for the crowds they expect at Saturday’s Flywheel Festival.
“We really are proud of this facility and when we first started planning it, I would have never thought it would have turned out this beautiful,” said Historical Society President Larry Davis. “A lot of people from all across Chickasaw County worked a long time and very hard to make this building happen.”
The museum is a large two-room structure with an office and genealogical research center on the south side and an exhibit room, complete with display cases and four wall filled with artifacts.
“We really do have a lot of very nice exhibits that tell a lot about the history of Chickasaw County,” said Davis. “We hope people will use this facility and drop by to see what we offer.”
The museum is the second phase of a three-phase plan for the Historical Society.
“We now have roughly 2,900-square-feet of display space,” said Davis. “The Ag Barn just south of the Museum is about 2,000-square-feet, the museum has 800-square feet and the blacksmith shop is about 100-square feet.”
He said Phase III will add additional exhibit space to the Museum. That building will be constructed on property north of the Museum.
The Historical Society had been located in a county building on Airport Road and had outgrown that space.
“This will give us much more visibility,” said Davis. “I might point out we had 17 people come to our museum on Airport Road last year to do research on their family. This really is a form of economic development and there is no doubt it will bring people to our community to stay in our motels, eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores.”
Davis said the museum will be manned by volunteers and they are working on developing scheduled hours.
“This really does belong to the community,” said Davis. “The community built it, they have helped furnish it and they will staff it and make it the success I know it will be.”
James Clark, Historical Society vice president, said the idea for the museum sprang from the Historical Society several years ago.
“Robert Porter and I traveled to Tupelo to their museum in 1981 to research our families,” said Clark. “On the ride back we decided we want some kind of genealogical society in Houston. The historical side came on a few years later and then the idea for this museum.
“I would have never believed we would have a building like this,” said Clark. “Down through the years, so many people have done so much. This really does show what this community can do when they put their mind to it. And we aren’t finished yet.”
Historical Society Secretary, Shirley Sisk said the historical society has roughly 70 local members and members from 16 other states.
“We are all about the history of Chickasaw County and promoting the people who made it,” said Sisk. “We meet the third Thursday of each month and dues are $20 a year.”
All donations to the Chickasaw County Genealogical and Historical Society are tax deductible.