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116 Pearl Street Then

116 Pearl Street Then
1920's Photo of Pearl Street

116 Pearl Street Today

116 Pearl Street Today
Our Museum!

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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The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc.

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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Help Us Keep History Alive In Webster Parish

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.

All contributions may be mailed to:

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
PO Box 1094

Minden, Louisiana 71058.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas Of Our Past 2012

               Get a glimpse of Christmas past this holiday season at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located in Minden, Louisiana.  A backdrop of Minden in the snow from 1892 welcomes you with a special holiday greeting and vintage Christmas music in the background.  The museum is decorated for holidays with a special exhibit of antique Christmas cards that date back to 1911 along with antique children’s Christmas books and toys.  The 1800s O’Bier Cabin is a real treat for our visitors; the stockings were hung by the chimney with care in this one room historical cabin.  The simple popcorn decorations on a feather tree along with greenery on the mantel and red patch work quilts on the bed and table adorn this highlighted exhibit of the Webster Parish museum.  Special holiday hours will be in place during the season so please check our website for more information.  As always the museum offers free admission to guest.  Join us on Facebook or join our email list by visiting or website at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Taste Of Yesterday IV Cookbook!

Front Cover

Back Cover
This fourth cookbook for the museum promises to be the best ever!  Filled with 400 recipes and pictures from many of those places we all remember such as Turner's Boarding House, Southern Kitchen, Lunsford's Downtowner and many others.  This book is filled with wonderful memories of shopping and dining in Webster Parish.  Don't miss this book. 
Cost is $20 per book plus we will ship for an extra $5
Please mail your check to
Dorcheat Museum
P.O. Box 1094
Minden, La. 71058
For more info please contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-423-0192

As spokesperson for the museum, I would like to thank the contributors to this cookbook for the wonderful recipes and stories. This book is dedicated to those that remember fondly “The good ole days of shopping and eating along the Main Streets of small town America and the local entrepreneurs that operated these establishments.”  When you think of your youth, you think of soda fountains, home delivered groceries and the local families that worked or owned these small stores and restaurants.  With those memories we remember meals shared at the local Drive-In or Sunday dinners.  We carry these precious memories with us, even when our small town life seems to disappear and many of those store fronts are torn down, faded and worn with time. 

I would like to recognize Brian Carlisle for his design work along with John Agan for his historic knowledge, folk artist Cora Lou Robinson for the cover art, and the Wise Family for the Wise Family recipes. Their talents made this more than a cookbook.  I especially thank the advertisers for making this book possible!

We have saved a part of history with these memories.  Many will never know about the old time country stores that we remember as children.  We are the lucky ones we can be brought back to these places in our minds with just a simple smell in the air, a faded sign on the side of an old building or a favorite recipe. 

The proceeds of this book will be used to help us expand our museum by purchasing and renovating the building next door!  We thank you for your support in this effort.  For information call 318-377-3002.  Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 1094, Minden, Louisiana 71058.  Please visit us at 116 Pearl Street, Minden, Louisiana or we are also on Facebook.


Schelley Brown Francis

Director of the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc.


Museum Holdiay Hours 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mike Harper Speaks At The Museum

Bill Bryant, Mike Harper and Cleo Cook look at the Harper Family History Book

Harper Family One Of Minden Earliest Families

Monday, October 8th, the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum held its 38th museum event since the museum opened its doors in 2008.  This event concluded the 2012 “Night for the Museum” speakers.  A large number of museum patrons and friends gathered to hear Mr. Mike Harper.  Harper told about his ancestor’s history in great detail and also skimmed the surface about his 1971-1972 experiences in Vietnam while serving with the United States Army-Infantry. 

Some of the earliest Minden area doctors and the first clerk of court in Minden were Harper family members.  The Harper family ancestors are some of the very first people that were buried at the Old Minden Cemetery under the large Magnolia tree in the oldest section.  Magnolia blossoms are featured on many of the Harper headstones in the old section of the Minden Cemetery, due to the fact that Magnolia, Arkansas was named by one of the Harper women.  

Not wanting to go into the horrors of war, the next stories were told on a lighter note by Harper.  The types of helicopters and war planes used were discussed.  That first helicopter ride into the jungle and other stories about the amount of equipment and the types of guns that men carried into war were talked about.  A display of Vietnam era books, pictures, guns and ammo were on hand to look at the end of the evening.

 The museum was honored to accept A “History of Our Harper Family and Related Lines” book that was donated to the museum by Mrs. Pat Stephens along with a doctor bag that had belonged to Dr. A. G. Harper.    

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish’s rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday 10 a.m. - noon. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.


“Night for the Museum with Mike Harper

On the 2nd Monday of October, the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum will hold its 38th museum event since the museum opened its doors in 2008.  On Monday, October 8th, 2012, Mr. Mike Harper will be the headliner for the last of the 2012 series of speakers known as “Night At The Museum”. 

Many people may not realize that the Harper Family roots run deep in Minden, unless you have seen Mike as his ancestor Dr. Albert Gallatin Harper at the Minden Cemetery “Ghost Walk”.  The Harper family ancestors are some of the very first people that were buried at the Old Minden Cemetery under the large Magnolia tree in the oldest section.  This family actually named Magnolia, Arkansas and has had ties in Minden since the 1850s.  

Mike Harper was born in Shreveport and is a 1969 graduate of Jesuit High School.  From 1971-1972 Mike served with the United States Army-Infantry in Vietnam.  After Vietnam he continued his education and became a 1976 LSUS graduate with a B.S. in management.  In 1976 Mike followed in his father Jud Harper’s footsteps and began a career in the automotive sales industry by working at Rountree Olds-Cadillac in Shreveport.  He went on to graduate from Dealership Management Development School General Motors Institute, Flint, Michigan in 1979.  Mike along with wife; Whittney and children, Marshall and Catherine have called Minden home since the early 80s.   

Don’t miss your chance to hear about one of Minden’s pioneering families. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:00 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish’s rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday 10 a.m. - noon. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.







Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Night For The Museum

Cora Lou shows Mrs. Lester where she has captured Lester in this painting as a Sunday School Teacher

Charlotte Martin's wonderful Happy 200th Birthday Louisiana Cake was a big hit at the gala

Cora Lou Robinson Original Painting The Highlight Of The Night!
The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum’s annual fundraiser was a huge success bringing in over $40,000.  Over 150 patrons of the museum crowded into the silent auction room as the bidding frenzy began at 6:00 p.m. on Monday night. 

Museum director; Schelley Francis was very pleased with this years turnout stating that her goal was to reach $40,000 this year.  She also stated, “The money is still rolling in with a call today of a pledge of $10,000 to add to the total.  This should bring the total for the gala to around $50,000 more or less.  Which I am very pleased with!  We could not have done any of this without the support of so many that donated items and food for the auction.  We have been collecting items from local artist, businesses, cooks, patrons and so many more that I can’t begin to name them all.  Without them none of this would be possible and I hope they know how much the museum board of directors and I thank them!  Hopefully we can get the building next door earlier than expected but at least I know we have a good chunk of what we need in the bank.” 
The museum opened its doors in August of 2008 and has been going strong ever since!  The highlight of the evening of course was the original painting by folk artist Cora Lou Robinson.  This painting of the Minden Presbyterian Church in the 1940s went for a high bid of $8,000 to museum supporter and avid Cora Lou fan; Mrs. Margaret Evans. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Gift Of Her Memories

A Gift Of Her Memories


Folk Artist; Cora Lou Robinson is hard at work for the Dorcheat Historical Association fundraiser to be held Monday night at the Dorcheat Museum.  Mrs. Robinson’s paintings have been the highlight item at the last few museum silent auctions, creating a biding frenzy between a few Minden natives plus helping the museum by raising much needed funds. 

“This years painting is sure to be a huge hit among locals!  Cora Lou is always willing to help and the museum is something she is proud to be a part of.  It is her way of giving back where she can.”, stated museum director Schelley Francis.

Getting back to painting this year has been difficult for Mrs. Robinson, since the death of her husband and biggest fan; Ronnie Robinson.  Cora Lou commented that, “Ronnie always kept me motivated and on track with my paintings.  He was always near and would make helpful comments and suggestions about all my work.  It has been hard not to have him right there with me as I began painting this project for the museum.  I started this piece last year with him here by my side and this is the first time I have picked up the brushes since his death.”  Francis stated, “I encouraged Cora Lou as much as I could, by telling her that Ronnie would be really mad at her if she did not get back to painting.  Ronnie was a big help to me at the museum and I knew him well enough to tell Cora Lou what I thought he might say to her.  I would always tell her something in a joking way to keep her motivated, like Ronnie always did.  I think this piece of her art work is special for that reason, if for no other.”

The painting for this year is titled “Bible School- Presbyterian Church-1940s”

 “I grew up in the Presbyterian Church and one of my most pleasant memories is Bible School.  Most of it was held outside and I never remember anyone complaining about being hot.  We sang, did crafts, planted flowers, played, and studied the Bible.

Our pastor was John Davis and everyone called him Brother Davis.  His very talented wife taught music.  I will never forget the most wonderful Sunday school teacher I ever had.  She is Susie Lester and she is pictured at the refreshment table.  Those were very special times and I will cherish those memories forever.”… Cora Lou Robinson

The event is $25 per person and begins at 6:00 p.m. Monday, September 10th,  at 116 Pearl Street.  For more information and to reserve your spot please contact Schelley Francis at 423-0192.

Red Hat Ladies At The Museum

Shreveport’s Southern Belles Red Hatters Club visits Minden.
On Tuesday, August 28th, the Webster Parish Convention and Visitor’s Bureau hosted fifteen ladies from the Southern Belles Red Hatters Club of Shreveport. They began the day shopping at Say Baby, Minden’s newest boutique offering classy, sassy ladies fashions including clothing, jewelry, bling, fleur de lis and décor items. Say Baby is located at 200 Sibley Road. Owner Lisha Sikes treated the ladies to a continental breakfast and door prizes. They especially loved the “bling” and spent over an hour shopping. Being on a schedule, they had to move on but several plan to return and bring others.
Next they enjoyed a special tour of the Dorcheat Museum with Schelley Brown Francis. They even got to see the “new ghosts” occupying the old cabin in the museum. They loved the museum and discussed coming back in December and having their Christmas party in the new event room in the back. They also saw the preparations being made for the fundraiser for the museum on September 10th and wanted to attend to bid on the wonderful items being offered during the silent auction.
The ladies had great “home-cooked” meals at Moody’s Café at 600 MLK Drive in Minden after the museum tour. They loved the food and all cleaned their plates. They had seen Moody’s featured on KSLA Channel 12 “On the Road Show” and had to try it.
They concluded their day with a visit with Millie Rose at Second Hand Rose Antiques at 509 Main Street in downtown Minden, where the stars shop when they come to town! Millie entertained them with songs and stories of the movie stars who have visited her shop while filming in Webster Parish.
Lynn Dorsey

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You Are Invited To Help Make History Happen

Click to enlarge and right click to print

Monday, September 10, 2012, the Dorcheat Historical Museum will be hosting its fourth fundraising event since the 2008 opening of the parish museum. Last year the fundraiser was a huge success, and raised over $25,000 and was attended by over 150 guests.

Becky Marvin, Janice Mourad, Cora Lou Robinson, and Louise Snook, board members and gala event organizers report that the 2012 fundraiser promises to be no exception, with the Happy Birthday Louisiana “Louisiana Bicentennial Celebration” theme set for this year.  Guest will be thrilled with the variety of silent auction items and the great variety of wonderful Louisiana cuisine.  “We are so fortunate to have the support of so many people from far and wide.  “We are pleased with our progress and we know we couldn’t do any of it without so many generous friends and supporters of the museum.” stated museum director; Schelley Francis.

Folk artist, Cora Lou Robinson, is in the process of painting another new original painting for this event. Robinson’s paintings have been a highlight at the past auctions bringing in over $6000 last year for the museum. Everyone is looking forward to seeing her new 2012 piece. Other artists have also contacted museum board members about donating original works; and museum members are thrilled with the response to help.

The museum has had hundreds of visitors this past year from all over the country.  It is a showplace for our area and has received quite a bit of notice from the Shreveport area on local TV stations, magazines and newspapers.  People are now seeing museum commercials on TV, large billboards and ads in area publications.   

“With the “Nights for the Museum” 2011-2012 series of speakers, it was realized quickly the need for more space.  An expansion plan is now in the works with a 12 – 18 month fundraising drive that will include the funds raised at the 2012 and 2013 September Galas’.  The project to buy the adjacent building will double our size and give us parking, storage, extra restroom facilities and expand our exhibit / visitor area.  Many Minden residents will remember when the two buildings were connected as Major Office Supply with a door between the two sections.  With the purchase of the building we will once again have a doorway between the two museum areas.  When the Media/Theater room opened last year, it gave the museum an extra advantage of being able to offer the facility to others. We can now rent this part of the museum out for meetings, reunions and parties, plus we have the added benefit of the theater system for Power Point or video presentations.” commented Schelley Francis.

If you would like to attend or donate a service or item for the 2012 Gala event contact the Dorcheat Museum at 318-377-3002 or visit at 116 Pearl Street. To sign up for updates visit the website at you can also find us on Facebook.

Friday, June 8, 2012

If They See It Or Hear It They Will Come!

Minden, Louisiana's Dorcheat Historical Museum is boasting about some new advertising around town.  You will notice new signs on the front of the museum at 116 Pearl Street, billboards in several places and a year long cable T.V. campaign, plus directional signage at the corner of Pearl Street.   All these methods are just a few of the new ways of letting people know that Webster Parish has a great museum for history buffs young and old.  You can also follow the happenings at the museum on Facebook and the museum web site .  Mrs. Francis encourages everyone to visit the museum website and sign up to receive email blast for the important events that may take place during the year.
Museum director Schelley Francis stated, “We are so grateful to the Minden Press Herald for covering what we do at the museum.  The online website for the news paper can be accessed by everyone near and far.  These types of tools and social media have helped us so much in the last few years.  It gets the word out about what we doing almost as soon as we do it.  We want everyone to know where we are and that we are free to the public.  We have a wonderful small museum, we like to think we are the best little museum around!  We are constantly trying to keep up with technology and have created a QR Code.  This code can be scanned now from a sign on our front door with your cell phone.  The code then takes you to our website or wherever we direct it.  We may incorporate these codes later into our exhibits and a map of Minden’s historic sites.  We want the Webster Parish museum to be interesting to all ages by using all different types of methods.  We already use videos and sound effects throughout the museum that tell our history or make an exhibit more life-like, I feel that we are a stop, look and listen museum already. I encourage everyone to come by and see what we have to offer.”
The museum is always a work in progress; Dorcheat Museum is currently working on some new and exciting exhibits.  Museum exhibit designer Larry Milford’s recent trip to Baton Rouge has inspired many new ideas for the museum that will be coming to fruition soon.  Milford’s work is always impressive and his new ideas will be a wonderful addition.

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum is open Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch) and Saturday from 10 – Noon.  The museum is also open by appointment for special tours after hours.  The Media/Learning Center room is available for rent and currently is showcasing the Louisiana Bicentennial exhibit until the end of June.  As an added plus all children will receive a free history gift when they visit.  For more information contact Schelley Francis at 318-377-3002. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Traveling Exhibit May 16, 2012 - June 30, 2012 At The Dorcheat Museum

Traveling Exhibit Coming To Minden
May 16, 2012 - June 30, 2012
At The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
Traveling Exhibit May 16, 2012 - June 30, 2012 At The Dorcheat Museum

Traveling Exhibit May 16, 2012 - June 30, 2012 At The Dorcheat Museum
APRIL 12, 2012 - APRIL 12, 2013
“Becoming Louisiana” Begins Statewide Tour

Becoming Louisiana: Path to Statehood, is a traveling exhibition commemorating 200 years of Louisiana statehood, begins its statewide tour in April 2012. Presented by the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission, the exhibition will be featured in Louisiana museums and libraries through April 2013. 

Inaugural sites for the exhibition include the West Baton Rouge Museum, Port Allen; Kent Plantation House, Alexandria; Herbert S. Ford Memorial Museum, Homer; Audubon State Historic Site, St. Francisville; public libraries in Calcasieu, East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge parishes, and the State Library of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.

Becoming Louisiana: Path to Statehood is the result of collaboration between exhibition curator, Herman Mhire, graphic designer, Kate Ferry, and historian, Charles Elliott. The exhibition documents the roles Louisiana’s unique geography and cultural history played on its path to becoming the 18th state of the Union, and consists of a series of 10 fabric panels displaying images and text that tell the story of early Louisiana history.

Utilizing Charles Elliott’s historical text as a guide, Mhire researched the collections of the Louisiana State Museum and The Historic New Orleans Collection for relevant historical paintings, engravings, documents and maps. He and graphic designer Kate Ferry subsequently collaborated on the design of the panels, integrating images and typography into a rich tapestry illustrating early Louisiana history.  Exhibition themes include: “The Path to Statehood,” “The Geography of Power,” “From Chiefdoms to Colony,” “Empowering a French Creole Colony,” “Evolving French Creole Louisiana,” “New Powers, Old Purposes,” “Expanding a Spanish Colony,” “A Creole Colony Purchased,” and “Challenges on the Path to Statehood.”

Herman Mhire is a Distinguished Professor of Visual Arts in the College of the Arts, University of Louisiana, Lafayette and former Director/Chief Curator of the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, where he organized more than 200 exhibitions presented in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 2004 the Minister of Culture of France named Herman Mhire a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Kate Ferry has produced award-winning art direction in print design, television, animation, and illustration for local, regional and national advertising campaigns for more than 25 years. Her clients include state and local tourism, political campaigns, construction, healthcare and the restaurant/hospitality industry, state and local libraries, arts organizations and non-profits.

Charles N. Elliott teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Louisiana and American
History at Southeastern Louisiana University. He received the 1997 William Coker Award in Gulf South History for “Bienville’s English Turn Incident: Anecdotes Influencing History” and the 2012 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Award for Individual Achievement in the Humanities.
“Becoming Louisiana: Path to Statehood” will be accompanied by a collectible, fine art commemorative poster, measuring 27 inches by 39 inches, featuring an image of an 18 star American flag, ca. 1812, made by residents of Hope Plantation to fly over the Arsenal in Baton Rouge, from the collection of the Louisiana State Museum. The poster is available for sale on the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission website,

The Louisiana Bicentennial Commission was created to mark the 200th anniversary of Louisiana’s attainment of statehood as the 18th state in the Union. Through both education and celebration, the Commission’s goal is to commemorate the Louisiana Bicentennial in every corner of the state. These activities include projects to be undertaken by the state seeking to harmonize and balance the important goals of ceremony and celebration with the equally important goals of scholarship and education. 

For More Information Contact:

Lance Harris, Director of Curatorial Services for the Secretary of State Museums (225) 362-5225; Charlene Bonnette, Head of the Louisiana Department  at the Louisiana State Library (225) 342-2791; and Julie Rose, Director at the West Baton Rouge Museum (225) 336-2422.

The exhibition’s state tour has been made possible by Coca-Cola, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Entergy, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, Bollinger Family Foundation, Haynie Family Foundation, Louisiana Lottery, The McMains Foundation, Zuschlag Family Foundation, AT&T, Goldring Family Foundation, and Union Pacific Railroad

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

“Night for the Museum with Leonard D. Miller, Brigadier General”

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum will hold its 4th “Night at the Museum” for the 2012 series of speakers on the second Monday night in May, 2012.  Leonard D. Miller, Brigadier General, US Army (Retired) will speak at the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum on May 14th, 2012.

General Miller was born in Minden in 1941 and graduated from Minden High School in 1959.  Miller graduated from Northwestern State College in 1964.  During his years of college Miller, married Carolyn Hall (also of Minden and a graduate of Northwestern) in 1962.  The couple has two sons and four grandchildren.  Both boys are LSU graduates.  One daughter-in-law is an LSU graduated with a Masters from ULM and the other is a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.  One son lives in Shrewsbury, PA and the other lives in Spring, TX.

Leonard and Carolyn left Minden in 1964 after he was commissioned through the ROTC program at Northwestern.  For the next 29 years he was a professional soldier with duty stations throughout the United States.  Additionally, they served two tours in Germany and he was assigned to Vietnam for two tours.  Carolyn stayed in Minden those two tours.  The first tour was 19678-1968 when they had one son and the second was 1972-1973 when they had the two sons.  Leonard retired from active duty in 1993 and they lived in their home in Fairfax, VA (which they purchased in 1979 for the first of the three assignments in the DC area) until 2002.  In the summer of 2002 they returned to their hometown of Minden and bought a home on Drake Drive. 

Don’t miss your chance to hear about one of Minden’s most high ranking Veterans.  The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:00 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish’s rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday 10 a.m. - noon. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.