Please support the Museum

By Jessica Gorman

This week’s article is a little different. Instead of sharing more history, I want to focus instead on the future of preserving our history. 

 In a little over a week, we will hold our annual fundraiser gala. Why is this event so important? The gala is vital to our operating budget for the coming year. People often ask, “But don’t y’all get money from the city, the parish, the state?” We have been very fortunate to have received financial contributions from the Webster Parish Police Jury recently and we greatly appreciate their support. However, many seem to believe that there is a public entity that funds the museum. This is not the case. The museum is owned and operated by the Dorcheat Historical Association, a nonprofit organization. Our primary means of funding is our very generous financial supporters.

Why should I care about the museum? I find this question difficult to answer, mostly because I don’t understand why it would be a question at all. I believe that museums are inherently important. Museums tell the stories of communities, of people, of events, and provide a place where we can go to explore and understand the past. Museums provide us with perspective. 

What does the museum offer? First of all, we offer free admission. There is absolutely no charge for you to come by and check out what has been referred to repeatedly as one of the best small-town museums in the country. These comments come from out-of-town visitors who frequent museums. 

We offer several speaker programs throughout the year. These programs are also free of charge. They are recorded and uploaded to the museum YouTube channel. Our channel currently includes 89 videos covering a variety of topics. 

In addition to the YouTube channel, we have also started a Flickr page where we can share photographs and documents relevant to the history of Webster Parish. I’m really just getting started on this project and have much more to add as time permits. 

Of course, there is this weekly column and our daily Facebook posts. I am constantly researching something and, in the meantime, there is an ever-growing list of topics that need more extensive research that time has not yet allowed for. Even so, if you have a question or a topic you’d like to know more about, let me know, I’d be happy to help in any way I can. And, if you have a suggestion for a future article, let me know, I would love to know what you’re interested in knowing more about.

Do you have photos relevant to Webster Parish you’d like to have digitized? We’ll scan them for you at no cost in exchange for allowing us to add them to our archive. (Just be sure to bring a flash drive.)

We want to preserve the history of Webster Parish and to share that history with the public, to make it easily accessible. We need your help. The museum exists because of those who understood it’s importance, who gave of their time and their money to make it a reality. It’s now up to us, the younger generations, to continue this work and ensure that it is here for years to come.

(Jessica Gorman is the Executive Director for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Webster Parish Historian, and an avid genealogist.)