Mount Pleasant Museum Free Admission

Mount Pleasant/Maury Museum of Local History Offers Free Admission Through 2012

“Free”; “Fri”; “Gratis”; “Gratuito”; “Facultativo”; “Jiyuu” ” Frei “; however you want to say it, there is no charge for admission the remainder of the year to the Mount Pleasant/Maury Museum of Local History.
“It’s a way to encourage local people to come by and see their history,” says museum board president Irene Dugger. “It’s important for people to remember what it was like years ago when people dug the phosphate and what it was like at the end of the phosphate era, and appreciate what history has done for Mount Pleasant.”
The museum was formerly the Phosphate Museum, but Dugger said the board changed the name last year, as the extensive collection has far more reflected than phosphate-related historical items. Volunteers have put in dedicated hours to arranging several exhibits in very appealing ways.
As a result of such volunteer dedication, the museum has three levels chock full of beautifully-arranged collections. In the basement is a vintage collection of an old kitchen and a country store items. The first floor contains the items on loan by various citizens, such as a collection of Fenton, old toys, and historical town documents. For example, there are numerous old school yearbooks, family genealogies, and old newspapers, all available for viewing by citizens who may use these documents for research or simply to flash back to simpler days and ways. Dugger says that recent visitors using the genealogy resources have come from Alabama and Illinois.
The first floor is also the home to a significant collection of Clarke School memorabilia. Each year, Clarke school alumni take a tour bus to Mount Pleasant, and the museum is on their itinerary. The phosphate collection is also on this level.
The third floor has an armed forces room, a doctor’s office, a Civil War collection (in process), and a vintage bedroom featuring numerous beautiful old quilts.
The range of years for the museum goes from ancient (a kid-favorite is a dinosaur bone found in phosphate mining days) to no later than the 1970’s for the majority of items. In addition to the dinosaur bone, there are several kid-favorite features of the museum, including old toys, and learning it’s okay to “eat dirt.”
Dugger says the children get a real kick when they see that phosphate is dirt and that phosphoric acid, a derivative of phosphate, is included in many popular items like flour, macaroni and cheese, Spam, and colas. “Next time you drink a Coke, look on the can and you’ll see the word ‘phosphoric acid,’ ” Dugger says kids are informed. “They get a kick out of that and say ‘I’m going to tell my mom I’m eating dirt.’ ”
Board members are planning several special events similar to what they have done in the past. Dugger gives an example of the time they partnered with a museum in Nashville to have a staff member bring some live animals and reptiles. She recalls the python a woman brought out. None of the visiting school children wanted to touch the huge wiggling snake until one of them said HE wanted to touch it. She says the museum hosts several tours of school children each year.
Board members in addition to Dugger are Susan Boyette, Cathy Reed, Juanita Keys, Wilma Odom, Jason Boshers, Ricky Gray, John Hatcher, and Ruth Floyd. Several of the board members and numerous community volunteers staff the museum, Dugger says. Keys and Floyd are veritable treasure chests of living history, and the museum would like to videotape their recollections of local people, places and events of bygone times. They receive several calls a year from people needing information on past people and places of Mount Pleasant. “You should hear Juanita Keys talk about walking up to a general store no longer here to get penny candy,” Dugger says.
In addition to hoping they find a volunteer to create the historical video tapes, Dugger says, the museum is seeking volunteers to conduct tours and to help grow the museum into the future. Additionally, the museum welcomes items on loan related to phosphate or other historical items.
“We hope people will come rediscover the history of Mount Pleasant, which mushroomed from a population of 446 in 1880 to 2,007 in 1900 due to being ‘The Phosphate Capital of the World,’ ” Dugger says. “Our collections also encompass many other historical facets of Maury County, hence the name of our museum. We particularly hope families will take advantage of the free admission so their kids can see how very different life used to be. Some children are growing without any sense of history. This is a fun, and now free, way to change the historical awareness of our younger generations.”
The Mount Pleasant/Maury Museum of Local History is located at 108 Public Square, Mount Pleasant, and is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Their phone number is 931-379-9511.
* 931.379.0163 *

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