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Welcome To The Minden, Louisiana's Dorcheat Museum Blog

Thank you for visiting the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum Blog. The Dorcheat Historical Museum is the only museum inside the city limits of Minden, Louisiana. The museum opened June 10th, 2008. Admission Free with donations welcomed. Our hours are, Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., closed for lunch from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., open again from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday we are closed but open by appointment for special showings and meetings. We would like to invite you to visit our location at 116 Pearl Street in Minden, Louisiana. We look forward to sharing our history with you. For more information please contact museum director Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or 318-423-0192.

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This Minden, Louisiana Webster Parish Muesum is Funded in part by a grant from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission.

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In return for your support, you will receive not only a tax deduction, but also, invitations to all museum activities. Please give every consideration to helping with this endeavor. Be a part of Webster Parish history by becoming a proud supporter of the Webster Parish Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum.

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Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
PO Box 1094

Minden, Louisiana 71058.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dorcheat Historical Museum

Written by John Agan
Friday, 02 January 2009
Published in the Minden Press Herald
The past year was bittersweet for me in many ways; however, the highlight of the year was the opening of the Dorcheat Historical Museum. In the past I have written about the struggles that were endured over more than a half-century to bring this museum into existence.
This week’s Echo of Our Past will be more an Echo of Our Present and Our Future.

Although they didn’t know it, I am turning this space over to a couple of guest columnists this week – President Thad Andress and Executive Director Schelley Brown of the Dorcheat Museum.
Recently a newsletter was begun for members of the Association and it the first edition much of the story of the great things that took place this year was related.
So, today I am going to reprint some of the things from that newsletter, so that those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to participate in our museum will be brought up to date. My hope is that by the time the next quarterly newsletter is released, you will be a member and be able to read the news first hand.
To give credit in advance, most of what you read was written by Schelley Brown, as she composes the newsletter among the myriad of duties she has at the museum. I will also be including Thad’s President’s message from the issue.
The lead story of the newsletter is titled: “Museum Open For Business. The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum opened the doors officially on June 10, 2008. This was after a year-long construction and work phase that is still not complete. We now have the much-needed roof. Our volunteers and workers have been busy and have much more to do in the coming months and years.”
“Our first portion of the museum is nearly complete with minor tweaks along the way to take place. We still need items for the O’Bier Cabin exhibit. We need Civil War and Reconstruction items donated. Our Black History exhibit is in the works with the help of Dr. Roy Phillips and Mr. James Smith. Every day people come in with new items to add to our museum’s collection. This is how museums start, slow and steady. We are on the way!Never Completely Finished
“Soon we will begin working on our Children’s Learning Center. This room will have a seating capacity of over 100. A stage area and large screen monitor will be installed as well as a sound system. This area will have exhibits along the walls to enhance the museum experience for our visitors.
“A museum is never a completely finished project. New items are continuously found and donated. New Ideas always pop up to make things better. Please help us and take part. Remember, this is your museum, too!”In her Director’s Message, Schelley wrote the following:
“It has been a challenging, but very rewarding year at the museum. Thanks to our remarkable exhibit designer, Larry Milford, our museum is something we should all take great pride in. With the help of Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau grant money we have made great progress in 2007 & 2008, and are looking forward to 2009 and all that it holds.
“Our monthly ‘Night for the Museum’ events at Christopher’s on Main Street are a huge success. Held the second Monday of every month except December, these have turned into a historic social gathering. These nights have brought people from all over the area and all walks of life to share their history and memories with us.
“One thing I think more people need to be aware of as we go forward is that amount of money this all costs. Without the help of a few very generous people, we would not be where we are today. My fear is, what happens these few can’t give anymore? It is up to all of us to join in this effort of financial support. It is so important that you support the museum in any way that you can. Financially as well as with volunteer hours are important and the lifeblood of a museum. Members are our most important and most treasured assets.
“Cora Lou Robinson is helping the museum with postcard invitations to our local schools. This important program will encourage our teachers to bring their students to the museum. We are very hopeful that this will take off in a big way all over the parish.
“Take time out and visit the museum or, better yet, plan your next meeting here. Let’s make history together in 2009.”President’s Message
This was Thad’s President’s Message:
“It’s been a great year for the museum. It’s truly wonderful that excitement that has been created in Minden. Can you imagine all those people talking about history? It wasn’t long ago that we were saying we had not history or at least not much. Then John Agan came along and let us know that we were almost the historical center of the world!”
“A new museum was a project waiting to happen. Several of us decided now was the time to do it and together, with a number of others, put up the money to begin the project. The opportunity to hire someone as talented as Larry Milford was a real Godsend. We hope you like what Larry has done. The exhibits are definitely his creations. We have a long way to go, but it will be done ‘right’.
“Our second Godsend was Schelley Brown. She is a workaholic with a new idea a day about how to raise money to support the museum. There are a lot of people with ideas for what other people should do. Schelley means to do them all herself.
“Our volunteer supporters are growing all the time. The same is true of those making donations to the museum. It takes a lot of money to keep going, around $60,000 a year. That doesn’t include new exhibits and renovations of our unfinished areas. We believe we are spending our donor’s money wisely. We hope that more will contribute and those that have will make additional and larger gifts.”An Asset
So now, you have had a little peak at what is going on at the museum. In case you didn’t know we are located at 116 Pearl Street in Downtown Minden, about one half block east of the Post Office, or, if you’ve been here a while, the old Major’s Office Supply building. Drop by and give the museum a look. We are open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 12 Noon. Special tours can be arranged by calling the museum a 377-3002. I hope many of you will be calling that number to volunteer, or to provide those precious artifacts of local history we need to tell the story of our parish.I’m going to conclude this article with a long list, like the “begats” in the Bible. You know those lists in the Bible are lineages that help explain what made an individual or a people special Well, what follows in the “begat” list for the museum. These are those who have been listed as benefactors to the museum from 2006, through the end of October 2008. These good people have either helped financially or through donations of time and work. Now, if you’re name is missing, and you have given, chalk it up to me turning 50 this year and growing blind and forgetful. However, if your name is missing because you haven’t given, wont’ you consider joining these good folks in helping tell our story at the Dorcheat Historical Museum:Notes of ThanksWebster Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mr. & Mrs. Thad Andress, Mr. & Mrs. Miller Andress, Coca Cola Bottling Company of Minden, Ann Mays Harlan, Mrs. Pat Stephens, Mr. & Mrs. Marcus Wren, Dr. Richard Campbell, City of Minden and Mayor Bill Robertson, Mr. & Mrs. Duane Cloud, Mr. & Mrs. Rick Cloud, Webster Parish Police Jury, Minden Main Street, Larry Milford, Claire Drake Moore, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Odom, Mrs. Cora Lou Robinson, Ronnie Sale, Mr. & Mrs. C. O. West, Joan Andress Williamson, Woodard Walker, LLC, John Agan, Dr. & Mrs. Richard Baker, Durwood Blake, Mr. & Mrs. D. B. H. Chaffe III, Phil Demaline, Mr. & Mrs. Ed LaBruyere, Charlotte Martin, Minden Historical Residential District Association, Ty Pendergrass, Linda Pound, Benton & Brown, The Rev. & Mrs. William R. Bryant, Mr. & Mrs. James Bryant, Judge John C. Campbell, Mr. & Mrs. Jack Carroll, Mr. & Mrs. Bobby Evans, Virginia Fox, George French, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Gorman, Frank Griffith, Mr. & Mrs. Jud Hale, Dr. & Mrs. Carl Hines, Mr. & Mrs. Ben Hunter, Mr. & Mrs. John Irving, Mr. & Mrs. Loye Jones, Mrs. Allyson Hancock Kinzel, Bob & Earlene Lyle, Mr. & Mrs. James Madden, Mr. & Mrs. Rodney Mason, Mr. & Mrs. Harry McInnis, Mike Merritt Timberland Services, Dr. & Mrs. Carter Norman, Mr. & Mrs. Glen Pittman, Mr. & Mrs. Homer Purtle, Regions Bank, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Bridges, Waynette Sharon, Mr. & Mrs. Terry Snook, Woodard Investments, Sallie H. Anderton, Gerard & Cheryl Benit, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Berry, State Representative Jean Doerge, Fiberbond Corporation, R. O. Machen, Gibsland Bank and Trust, Jean Mendenhall, Jeannine & Dr. Mark Miller, Mr. & Mrs. Bobby Mourad, Mr. & Mrs. Carleton Prothro, Mr. & Mrs. Lonnie Simpson, Fant & Collier Smith, Dr. & Mrs. Webb Stewart, Mrs. Barbara Stewart-Shaffer, Mr. Andrew Walker, Wal-Mart, Dr. & Mrs. G. W. Willis, Mr. & Mrs. T. C. Bloxom, Jr., Dr. & Mrs. Ed Brown, Dr. & Mrs. Fred Cabaniss, Mr. & Mrs. Billy Chanler, Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Corley, Judge and Mrs. Harmon Drew, Jr., Harry Edwards, Mr. & Mrs. Larry Elkins, Marcia Gater, Mr. & Mrs. Larry Hock, Marilyn & Lea Miller, George Rolfe, Mr. & Mrs. Lynn Sinclair, Ronnie Veitch, Robert White and Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Woodard.
John Agan is a local historian, an Instructor at Bossier Parish Community College, and a published author. His column appears Fridays in the Minden Press-Herald.