CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)

AUTHOR: HARPER

OREN DUNN MUSEUM PLANS FALL INTO HISTORY

Things are moving ahead at the Oren Dunn Museum at Ballard Park in Tupelo, and Angie McDevitt plans to keep it that way.

The new curator speaks with excitement of what she found at a museum she didn't even know existed a year ago - and of the museum's future as a vital and growing place.

"This place grabs your heart. I look forward to coming to work every day. There's so much here, so much (the museum) can grow from," Angie said.

From a "Fall Into History" day in October to repairing buildings and refining displays, she and Jimmie Cole, museum tour guide, are busy with plans and projects and hands-on work.

Angie visited here in January, moved to Tupelo in March, began working at the museum in April, and then became curator.

"A friend mentioned that the museum curator, Mr. Oren Dunn, had passed away, and I didn't even know there was a museum here. I walked through and said, 'I've got to work here, just got to work here.' There's so much here, that's what hooked me," she said.

Angie has a degree in history with an emphasis in American history and a minor in art history, and has done research, plus volunteer work at other museums.

Jimmie Cole has worked at Tupelo's museum as tour guide for years and is a real asset, Angie said.

"That's her title, 'tour guide,' but she does so much more. We work together, exchange ideas, because two heads are better than one. She's like a mother to me and one of the really good things that I like about being here," Angie said.

"Miss Jimmie and I cleaned up and found storage space, loaded trash into a truck. She helps with everything. We made changes in some exhibits, implemented an exhibit rotation, worked on the gift shop."

Angie talked about buildings that need repairs, and about other short-term and long-term projects, and Jimmie had accolades for the young curator and the way she works.

"She's just a wonderful person. It means so much to have somebody like her. She's not afraid to work," Jimmie said.

You'll be hearing more about "Fall Into History" before long. It will be a day of living history, live music, games, a cakewalk, demonstrations of quilting and basketmaking, and much more. So mark your calendars for Oct. 25, and for admission of $3 (children under 6 admitted free). You can enjoy the museum and all the extra activities from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, plan a visit to the museum. If you haven't been there before, you'll be surprised at what it has to offer. For information about museum hours, or about group tours, call 841-6438.

Chris Wall scholarships

We almost let the Chris Wall Memorial Scholarship Classic, which runs Saturday through Monday, slip up on us. For information call Rebelanes at 842-1132.

This is the fourth annual tournament providing scholarships for young bowlers, and $3,000 will be awarded this year to winners in different categories. The scholarships are cumulative, and each year winners add to the scholarships being held for the day they enter college.

Herb and Glenda Wall, Rebelanes owners, have been my friends for years though I know nothing about bowling. My youngest went with a neighbor to Rebelanes one day, wearing a leg brace with a metal bar going under a shoe.

Herb not only let her play and scar his floors, he encouraged Beth to participate and rented her a single shoe to make her feel like the other children.

I can only imagine losing a child, as they lost Chris, 15, in an accident in 1993, but the Walls turned their tragedy into helping others while perpetuating their son's memory.

Young bowlers and their families from several states will be in Tupelo this weekend to bowl in Chris Wall's memory.

Phyllis Harper is Daily Journal feature editor.

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