Donor gives $10K to park museums

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Cassidy Park museums got a welcome donation Friday of $10,000 from Keith Hughes.

John Gallaspy dropped off the donation on behalf of Hughes. Gallaspy said Hughes was donating the money in memory of Hughes’ mother, Claudine Rogers Hughes.

Robin Day, the vice president of the museum board, said both the Native American Museum and the Pioneer Museum suffered severe damage following last week’s flooding. She estimated repair costs to come to about $300,000.

“It’s in the $300,000 range, but some of the artifacts are priceless,” she said.

Day explained that the museum lost most of the equipment and supplies necessary to run an office, including the computers, filing cabinets and more.

However, not all was lost. Many of the artifacts were saved, including some important early photographs of Bogalusa.

“They salvaged a collection of photographs that were made 100 years ago,” Gallaspy said. Gallaspy is a local historian, and he said he used those photographs for his book, “The City that Refused to Die.”

Day explained she and others are currently working to save the artifacts that made it through the flood.

“The artifacts are being preserved,” she said. “We’re working with the state museums and the AIC, the American Institute of Conservation, and they’re getting us information on preservation and restoration.”

In addition, she said a safe, dry, climate-controlled environment has been donated as a temporary space for the artifacts.

“The artifacts are being secured,” she said.

Although there are no plans for fundraisers quite yet, Day said the community can expect some in the future.

“Eventually we will need the community to rally to bring the museums back, bigger and better than ever,” she said.

In the meantime, she and others are working to save the artifacts. Day said she wanted to thank Jimmie Millicent Canter, the museum curator, for her support and she wanted to thank the museum board, including Sandy Bloom, Judy Pritchard, Lorraine Bourn, Carol Duke, Patricia Branch and Johni Miles-Blount.

“We really need to recognize the dozens of people who have come into the muddy, wet museums to help out,” Canter said.

According to Gallaspy, Hughes is from Bogalusa, though he is retired and living in Dallas now.

“Mrs. Hughes was married to Leo Hughes in 1949, and they reared their two sons, Keith and Kevin, on Pleasant Hill,” Gallaspy wrote in a prepared statement. “This gift comes from Keith, who graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1968 and attended St. Andrew’s University in Scotland on a Rotary Fellowship initiated by the Bogalusa Rotary Club.”

Gallaspy is a friend of the Cassidy Park Museums, and Day called Gallaspy “our best friend.”