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of Cassidy Park

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New exhibit transforming Pioneer Museum


We at the Museums of Cassidy Park realize that any museum has to stay energetic and vital, so we regularly add or change exhibits. And now, thanks to a lot of hard work by Pioneer Museum Curator Millicent “Jimmie” Canter with considerable assistance from Roosevelt Ludd, we're about to open an exciting new one that takes up about a quarter of the space in that museum. Importantly, the new exhibit, “Magic City Maps,” has a hands-on component for the public.

We've put up copies of the earliest maps made when Bogalusa was being laid out and built. A number of really interesting pieces of memorabilia of the era, including automobile hood ornaments, are on display. A lot of information about the beginnings of the city is posted, and we want the community to add to the history.

“At the time, it was a city wholly owned by the corporation, the Great Southern Lumber Company,” Canter said. “There are maps of each of the four 'quarters' of the city as laid out by New York landscape architect Harvey Murdock.

“The exhibit includes famous photographs of the original civic and company buildings designed by Rathbone DeBuys of New Orleans, who designed many famous New Orleans buildings, including the main buildings of Loyola University. The location of each Bogalusa building is located on the maps.”

Separate maps of each quarter of Bogalusa have been enlarged to show every city block, and Canter and Ludd invite visitors to write their names on a flag pin and put it on the place where they grew up or where they presently live.

The city maps are complemented by Willie Lee Harry’s scale model display of the old Mill Quarters housing for “colored” employees of the Great Southern Lumber Company and, later, Gaylord Corporation, which the public is also encouraged to flag.

All visitors are additionally invited to write a paragraph or two about their childhood neighborhood for an "I Remember When" compilation. Stories, by Irma Lee Callendar, Mary Dugan, and Ludd are already on display, and we'd love everybody to add their own recollections for posterity.

“If you just want to speak into our little hand held recorder that's good, too,” Canter said. “We love to learn the stories any way we can. We'd like pictures that we can copy and return, too.”

Thanks to the Main Street Grocery, the new exhibit also includes an approximately 8-foot-long copy of the store’s wall mural montage of Columbia Street that was painted by Bogalusa native Alvin Carter shortly before his death in 2009.

The mural component of the exhibit is fleshed out with photographs that show vintage automobiles and automobile businesses on Columbia Street through the years. And the photographs are accompanied by a vintage Hood Ornament Collection, lent by Wayne Bourn, which reflects the artistic style and elegance of the old cars.  

“The first Model T Ford cars coincided with the founding of Bogalusa, and many of them are seen in the old Columbia Street photos,” Canter said. 

The Pioneer Museum is being transformed. It’s really cool and exciting. And we’re providing opportunities for people to add to the already available information, to become a part of recorded history. I strongly encourage everybody to take advantage.

I believe it’s a museum’s job to explore and nurture the connection to the past that makes us who we are now, to be the story-teller, the preserver, the educator. A lot of places don’t have anybody doing that, and much has been and continues to be lost. Bogalusa is very, very fortunate to have these museums.

I think anybody who hasn’t visited them would be stunned by their truly incredible collections that would be the envy of many bigger, maybe more culturally sophisticated, municipalities. And museum entry is free of charge. This community should be proud.

We invite everybody to check us out, to share their own stories and to join us.

Annual membership starts at only $25 for an individual, $35 per family and just $5 for a student. And members can take pottery, paper-making and other classes free of charge except for small material fees.

To get a membership form, visit the museums from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday or Sunday, or call Marcelle Hanemann at 735-9188 or 750-6584 to arrange pickup.






The Museums of Cassidy Park and their Heritage Craft School Pottery Class Volunteers took part in the recent Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival at the park. The Museums not only welcomed visitors during extended hours, they handled the BBHF train rides and provided a space for the festival’s Harmonica Workshop, Drum Circle and Native American Storytelling. And the Pottery Class Volunteers set up a vendor booth and brought in about $1,500 for the Museums by selling angels, jewelry and various other pottery items and Dreamcatchers, and by raffling off a pottery Nativity Scene done by one of their number, Debbie Weaver. For those who missed the opportunity to see what they make and offer for purchase, the group plans to also take part in the Mile Branch Settlement Pioneer Christmas in Franklinton the first weekend in December.



Museum Needs

The Museums of Cassidy Park are currently looking for items to further enhance the new Bogalusa exhibit in the Pioneer Museum, as well as materials that participants in the museums’ new Creative Circle can fashion into jewelry, dream catchers and more to sell in the gift shops and at festivals and similar fund-raising opportunities to benefit the local non-profit.

Pioneer Museum Curator Millicent “Jimmie” Canter has put out a call for personal letters of some historical interest up through World War II; pictures of people wearing clothing of the early 1900s; adult and children’s clothing of the same era; children’s toys and school or story books of the period; photographs of area schools, students and classes; and pictures of small businesses located within the city limits at the time.

Canter said the Museums simply want to borrow the items, and can make and use copies of the photographs and letters.

“However, originals of the letters would be more effective,” she said.

Museums Director Marcelle Hanemann agreed, and added that the Creative Circle is looking for old, broken jewelry or any natural materials such as feathers, animal teeth and claws, glass or pottery beads, and pottery shards that could be incorporated into new jewelry or other pieces.  

She said the idea is to upgrade the museums gift shops and extend their reach. Ruth Rolling, who teaches the museums’ pottery classes, and many of her students are already adding pieces such as effigy vessels to the sale items.

To make arrangements to donate or lend items, contact Hanemann at 735-9188 or 750-6584.



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