The museum extends special thanks to these organizations for generously supporting special projects: Friends of the Museum (FOM), Greater Starkville Development Partnership (GSDP), Kiwanis Club of Starkville, Starkville Area Arts Council (SAAC), Starkville Civic League, Starkville Oktibbeha Achieving Results (SOAR), Starkville Rotary Club, and Town and Country Garden Club.
The museum also has benefited from collaboration with Mississippi State University (MSU) classes: architecture, communications, Day One, graphic arts, human sciences, landscape architecture, and Service Dawgs.
A multi-year landscaping project, begun in 2009, created an infiltration basin designed to keep rain water in the garden and out of the sewage system. A main objective was to solve the museum’s drainage problem.
This sustainable, “green” system is a joint endeavor between the Mississippi State University Department of Landscape Architecture and the museum. Landscape architecture faculty and students are providing the design and free labor for the project, with assistance from Master Gardeners.
Left: Lynn Spruill and Wayne Wilkerson present checks for the rain garden to Joan Wilson and Wanda Thorne.
Right: Donors who give $1,000 or more will have their names engraved on the metal plaque located on the kiosk near the museum’s entrance.
Ongoing funding for construction and plant materials is provided mainly by tax-deductible gifts to the Friends of the Museum and by small grants. The city and the county have donated some construction materials and labor. In-kind donations by local businesses, such as Bell Building Supply, and Master Gardeners also contributed to the project.
The rain garden is a teaching model for the community, garden clubs, students, and regional landscape contractors. It also serves as a point of interest for visitors to the museum.
The Mississippi chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) received the Excellence in Community Service Award in 2010 for their volunteerism at the museum on the rain garden project. They have won yet more awards for their community service at the museum.
Miniature Train Display
Funded by a SOAR grant, the miniature train display in the northeast corner of the museum represents Starkville from 1900 to 1940, in a period before highways. Starkville resident George Verrall constructed and donated the items.
Funded in part by a grant from the Starkville Area Arts Council, the museum offers a virtual trip back in time in downtown Starkville. It uses a curated computer presentation of old newspaper and magazine accounts and more than 400 photographs. Museum trustee Ruth Morgan organized this digital exhibit. She interviewed many elderly citizens of Oktibbeha County to capture their memories through stories.
A grant from the Starkville Area Arts Council is allowing the museum to have a large collection of photographs professionally scanned. Ruth Morgan researches and writes articles featuring the old photographs for the weekly Starkville Daily News feature “From Days Past.”
In February 2013, the Civic League of Starkville donated $1,000 to the museum for archival materials (flat file cabinet and two scrapbooks).
My Oktibbeha Children’s Project
Fourteen students in Kathi Hester’s 6th grade VIVA Art class at Starkville’s Armstrong Middle School participated in a hands-on photography project in April 2011. Students were given disposable digital cameras, and Jeremy Murdock and Kasia Gallo gave instructions on “good photography” and “sense of place.” Over a 2-week period, they captured pictures of their favorite places in Oktibbeha County. Their chosen photos, each with a Haiku poem, are on exhibit at the museum.
FOM board member Kasia Gallo again provided leadership for the 2012 project, involving Coach Gavin Gilbert’s 8th grade Local Culture class at Armstrong Middle School. Kasia and Megan Bean, MSU University Relations photographer, did the introductory lecture on sense of place and on excellence in photography. Rachel Cannady lectured about Haiku poetry. In the students’ year-end evaluations, the class ranked this project as its favorite activity and the tour of the Heritage Museum as its second favorite activity. The photos, with Haiku poems, are on display at the museum.
A fire engine was constructed for the Children’s Corner that allows children to play as firefighters. Funding for the fire truck came from the Kiwanis Club and a Friends of the Museum donation. Kiwanis funds also allowed for the creation of other interactive play stations in the Children’s Corner.
The Civic League of Starkville donated funds to construct a re-created doctor’s office, where visitors can walk through the structure to view a variety of old medical instruments.