Every community has its own unique story to tell, and Morehouse Parish is no exception.
Following several years of research and creative collaboration, local volunteers look forward to sharing the ongoing Morehouse story with the public through “Historical Markers,” a new historical timeline exhibit to be officially unveiled next month at the Snyder Museum in Bastrop.
“Our hope is that visitors will enjoy the exhibit, and learn a little bit about Morehouse history at the same time,” said museum director Candy Nugent. “I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve learned some things from the timeline I didn’t know before.”
When the museum received a grant for the timeline exhibit from the Morehouse Parish Tourism in 2010, volunteers faced a challenge: To encapsulate a community narrative from the days of European exploration through the Civil War and to the present, in an easy-to-follow format that would be accessible to museum patrons.
“It seemed easy to pick important moments in Morehouse history, because each event marked a decisive moment in the story,” said local educator Walter Bonner, who created the initial timeline draft.
Working from Bonner’s foundation, former Enterprise reporter Wes Helbling suggested dividing the timeline into six wall-mounted panels rather than the more traditional form for historical timelines, due in part to space considerations.
“You have the coming of steamboat commerce in the 19th century, and the industrial boom that followed the discovery of natural gas in this area in the early 20th century,” said Helbling. “My thinking was that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. So it made sense to group unique time periods together like chapters in a book.”
The timeline text then went to graphic designer Joe Rolfe of Oak Ridge and to members of the Family History Club, who contributed additional ideas and milestones. Entergy and private donors contributed additional funding to complete the exhibit.
“This has definitely been a collaborative project, and I think the finished exhibit will reflect that,” said Helbling. “Visitors can learn about major historical events like the Civil War and the World War II German P.O.W. camp in Bastrop, as well as fun facts like Shoeless Joe Jackson’s playing baseball here and Elvis Presley’s 1955 concert at Southside Elementary. There’s a little bit of everything.”
The public is invited to see the Historical Markers exhibit at the Snyder Museum’s celebration of history and art event from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7. Refreshments will be served.
In addition to the timeline, visitors can see The Red Shoe Exhibit, a project of the Bayou Pixel Shooters Photography Club, and the 2013 ULM Mixed Media Art Exhibition, featuring artists Rachael Barnes, William Holley, Sara Beth Howard, Christian Parker, Lacy Micham, Chesney Musgrove and Victoria Smith.