Hazlehurst to host Smithsonian traveling exhibition

SITE APPROVAL – David Morgan of the Mississippi Humanities Council visited the Depot in Hazlehurst recently to see if the site would meet the requirements of the “Journey Stories” exhibit. Hazlehurst will be one of six sites in the state of Mississippi to host the Smithsonian traveling exhibition. From left are Janet Schriver, Copiah County cultural affairs director; Randall Day, Hazlehurst Chamber of Commerce executive director; Morgan; Hazlehurst Mayor Henry Banks; and Earl Dixon, president of

Chamber director Randall Day assists David Morgan of the Mississippi Humanities Council with measurements to determine if the space will accommodate the exhibits.

Copiah County Office of Cultural Affairs Awarded Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition

The Mississippi Humanities Council has selected the Copiah County Office of Cultural Affairs as a recipient of traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The first exhibit, Journey Stories, should arrive in late 2009 or early 2010 with another exhibition on its way in 2011.

According to the Director of Cultural Affairs, Dr. Janet Schriver, bringing this type of programming to the county is a result of the Board of Supervisors creating the Office of Cultural Affairs. These exhibitions require a commitment from local government, oversight by a Humanities scholar and support from the community. With the formation of the Office of Cultural Affairs, the community is open to more cultural opportunities.

Schriver explained, “As the Director of Cultural Affairs, I can request that Copiah County be considered for art and cultural programs that have never been available. In this case, I applied to the Humanities Council for the Journey Stories exhibition because I knew it was a good fit with our community.  I was surprised that we not only received this exhibit but were informed that we are on the slate for the 2011 exhibition.”

The purpose of the traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution is to bring quality programs to small populated areas. Six sites across Mississippi were selected for the Journey Stories exhibition. David Morgan, the project specialist who oversees the traveling exhibitions from the Mississippi Humanities Council, visited Copiah County a few weeks ago to examine the exhibition space as part of the selection process. During his visit, he made the comment that “the community that receives these exhibitions is never quite the same.” This is a prestigious award that brings regional interest.

The Journey Stories exhibit will be displayed in the Illinois Central Railroad Passenger Depot on Ragsdale Street in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Schriver says that the location of the exhibit is dependent on the subject matter and this exhibit is about traveling. “The Depot is the perfect spot for this exhibition. It allows us to look at the importance the railroad has played on the growth and changes of our community. We can look out the window and see the City of New Orleans pass by and consider how important transportation has been to Copiah County and look at the exhibition and realize how important transportation has been to our country’s development.”

The Director for this project is Dr. Schriver and the Co-Director is Randall Day, the Executive Director for the Chamber of Commerce and the Coordinator for the Depot Museum. The Depot is owned by the City of Hazlehurst. Plans include commitments from the Copiah County Historical Society and the Copiah County Courier to help with the success of the implementation of the exhibit.

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