Future director to speak at museum night

May’s Night at the Museum will feature the soon-to-be new executive director Jessica Gorman.

Gorman will take over the spot from long-time director Schelley Francis, who is retiring in July.

“Come meet her and find out why she is the perfect person for the job at hand,” Francis said. Francis has been director since the museum’s inception in 2007.

Gorman originally started working at the Minden Cemetery located south of Bayou Avenue by the Coca-Cola plant, close by the downtown district. She began there around March 2020 when she found herself with more free time due to Covid. The cemetery is separated into two sections, with Jessica focusing most of her work on the older section.  

“I always had an interest in cemeteries,” Gorman said, “It evolved from going to our local cemetery and seeing the condition that it is in, seeing something that is broken, and instead of just thinking, ‘Oh, that is such a shame,’ to wondering, ‘Is there something I can do about that?’ I really wanted to learn the right way to do it and be able to make a small difference.” 

It was in November of last year that Francis asked Gorman if she would like to begin assisting her at the museum. So far, she has helped get the Dorcheat Museum YouTube channel up and running where they are sharing all the oral history that has been collected since 2008, along with setting up new exhibits, such as the Minden Hospital and BB Gun exhibit. 

“She is just like I was 20 years ago,” said Francis, “I have been praying for several years about who was going to take this over after I left. When you put your heart and soul into something for so many years, you worry about it. I did not want to see all this hard work just go away.” 

Francis says she feels confident that Gorman understands the important task at hand, and rests assured the museum will be well cared for when she decides to step away. She believes it will help reach a different generation, having a younger person with as much passion and knowledge about Minden’s history. 

Gorman was recently named to the North Louisiana Historical Association.

Night At The Museum, featuring Gorman will be at 6 p.m. Monday, May 8. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.) Seating is limited. Please bring potluck snacks and desserts. Admission is free; donations welcome.

 The museum is now accepting online donations on their new website www.dorcheatmuseum.com.  

(Paige Nash contributed to this report.)