Cochran, Wicker Announce Grants for Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg Museums

April 9, 2008

WASHINGTON – Five museums in South Mississippi will receive grants to aid in recovery from Hurricane Katrina, Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker announced today.  The grants have been provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Southeastern Museums Conference to museums in Mississippi still working to rebuild after the damage of Hurricane Katrina.

“Art and culture are fundamental to the lifestyle of Mississippians,” said Senator Cochran.  “Rehabilitation of our museums and cultural heritage is vital to the continued recovery of South Mississippi.”

“The museums and cultural centers throughout the Gulf Coast and South Mississippi embody the spirit of our state,” Sen. Wicker said.  “As we continue to rebuild our roads, bridges and homes, it is imperative that we provide the resources to ensure the cultural heart of Mississippi remains intact.” 

Details on the grants are listed below:

  • $25,000 to the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Gulfport, MS  --  The museum’s grant will go to reaching children and their families through the Expressions program, which includes science, art, drama, and hands-on activities.  This award will enable this program to continue for the full 2007/08 academic year.
  • $25,000 to the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, Biloxi, MS -- The museum was severely damaged by the hurricane, and this grant will support conservation of damaged artifacts and expanded archival storage.  The museum was able to rescue a number of items in its collection and will begin treatment with a FEMA-approved plan for object conservation.  In addition, the museum will use IMLS funds to expand the educational components of a camp for local artists. 
  • $10,650 for the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, MS -- This museum’s important pottery collection was moved offsite due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, and will be periodically rotated back to the museum for exhibition.  IMLS funds will be used for crates and storage materials for the ceramic objects, to ensure their safety during shipping between the museum and the storage site. 
  • $24,799 for the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, MS -- The museum will use the grant from IMLS to expand infrastructure and to hire a membership manager to reach out to the local community in Mississippi.  The museum has addressed the physical damage to the building and collection from Hurricane Katrina, but is still struggling to be at full staff capacity.  This grant will support a crucial staff position, buy software and hardware, and help publish a brochure about the museum’s programs.      
  • $20,882 to William Carey University, Hattiesburg, MS -- The campus of the university sustained severe damage from the hurricanes, and the building that houses the art museum was completely destroyed, with all supporting collection materials lost.  This IMLS grant will be used for the conservation of 17 damaged works prior to their reframing,  the hiring of  a registrar to assess and recover information about the collection, and the archival storage of the works of art.

The Mississippi museums are part of a larger group of grant recipients, which additionally included six museums from Louisiana.