Restoring the record: Museum to open at new location

Published 4:50 am Friday, December 2, 2016

It’s been a historic year for the Bogalusa museums.

In March, the Museums of Cassidy Park were destroyed by massive floods that ripped through Cassidy Park. But since then, a dedicated cast of volunteers have been rebuilding in a new location on higher ground on Avenue F. As volunteers sorted, repaired, searched for and arranged artifacts, the museum has been mostly closed to the public.

Now, however, as the year draws to a close, the museum is set to once again open their doors. Although the new building at 750 Ave. F isn’t big enough to properly display all the artifacts, volunteer Sandy Bloom said it was time to open up.

“We really needed to get started and so a month ago we said, ‘Let’s have our grand opening Dec. 3 and here it is,” she said. “A lot of people have helped us and given us donations, so it was up to us to do what we could.”

The grand opening will kick off at 10 a.m. and wrap up at 2 p.m.

“They can expect some of the old things from the museum and some new things,” Carol Duke said. “And there will be light refreshments served.”

However, the museum is also seeking help from the community. The museum organizers hope to keep the museum open Saturdays and Sundays, so they’re seeking decent volunteers.

“I need someone to come and man the museum,” Duke said.

Bloom added that the museum is also actively seeking new members. Memberships begin at $25 for individuals and go up to $1,000 for platinum members. Student memberships are also available for $5 for students.

The opening will also be a bit bittersweet because some pieces won’t be available. Some of the pieces may never be available, as they’re still lost.

“The actual pieces that were lost were few, but were so precious,” Bloom said. Among those items were an authentic Choctaw-made bowl, a Native American beaded necklace, a papoose and a pair of moccasins.

Other Native American artifacts remain damaged, and museum volunteers remain hopeful the community can help repair those.

“We need turkey feathers,” Duke said. “The flute we have was beautiful but the feathers have to be replaced.”

Also, a replica trade knife is badly rusted and needs repair, as does a plains pony bow replica.

However, Bloom said the museum isn’t actively seeking replacement artifacts, as the storage area is already filled with items too numerous to put on display.

“I think I would say, if people would contact us if they’re interested in donating something, we’d have to make a decision on whether we have room,” she said.

The Cassidy Park museums had been in two large buildings in the park. Now, in a single space, the museum officials are having trouble displaying the Native American and pioneer collections. So, volunteers are tackling the constraint of limited space with a unique solution: Multiple displays around town.

Bloom said the concept is “beyond the museum walls,” and residents can also enjoy a display at the Bogalusa City Hall annex and at the city’s library. The library exhibit features a history of the local Campfire organization and the city hall annex display features a history of the city’s development.

However, even with the offsite locations, there is still not enough room for all the artifacts.

Both Bloom and Duke praised Charles Mizell for donating the space to the museum. However, Bloom said she doesn’t yet know if the Avenue F space will be the permanent home for the museum.

“The future is uncertain in terms of a place but it’s not uncertain in terms of our organization,” Bloom said. “We’re very resilient and we’re blessed to be in this community.”