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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
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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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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.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

What A Difference A Year Makes



Dear Supporters of the Dorcheat Historical Museum,

The holiday season is approaching and with that comes a feeling of excitement!  Here at the museum we have so much to be excited about.  This year we came out of our Covid hibernation period and had our “TIE ONE ON” apron exhibit, book and fundraiser gala.  It was a wonderful evening filled with a “standing room only” crowd of friends, patrons, new faces and cakes, raising over $25K.   Our bank account looks so much better than it did a year ago; however, just like other businesses, we face the challenge of increased operating costs, so we are asking for your continued support.

After many years of service to the museum as Board President, Louise Baird Snook stepped down from her position and Mike Harper stepped up to serve as President, along with several new board members.  It was my pleasure to officially introduce Jessica Stewart Gorman as my successor as executive director on June 22, 2023.  Many were already aware of all Jessica is doing for Webster Parish.  We now have a Dorcheat Museum Channel on YouTube, where you can watch all our previous speakers on your various devices. Her passion for history has now expanded to a weekly column, “Historically Speaking,” in the online Webster Parish Journal, sharing long-forgotten stories of Webster Parish.  We also collaborated with Brookshire’s local grocery to display historic area pictures highlighting Webster-Minden history. Check these pictures out along the top of the walls all around the store.

With our new Board in place, we want to address the financial strategy necessary to start on our annex next door.  It will take a significant influx of contributions to accomplish this, to include new exhibits, bathrooms, and office space. Jessica and I both have the same vision for the stories that need to be told.  Each community in Webster parish has so much to share and this will be our way to let each one of those communities shine.  It will also be our chance to honor our History Keepers, those rare individuals that spend or spent a good part of their lives making sure our history is not forgotten.  The following are just a few that come to mind: John Agan, Juanita Agan, Thad Andress, Mrs. Thomas Campbell, Richard Carey, Frank Griffith, Christine Hunt, Ben Hunter, Dr. Luther Longino, R. O. Machen, Charlotte Martin, Carter Norman, Dr. Roy Phillips, Beth White and Marcus Wren.  I would like to include Jessica and myself in that group, also.  Without all of us, much of our history would be gone forever.  

We now have our own website,, where we can take credit cards for purchases, as well as financial donations.  The website is a nice overview of what we are all about and our progress, including a sample of our books and an easy-click button to take you to our YouTube channel.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

Minden/Webster Parish is ever-changing, but with your help we will keep some of the past preserved.  Our rich history seems to fade more quickly than ever these days. History is not there for us to change; it is there for us to learn from.  I hope that you will continue to help us keep Webster Parish history alive for future generations.  Your financial support makes a difference to the museum and is always appreciated; remember we are a 501 C3 nonprofit organization.


Schelley Brown Francis                 Jessica Stewart Gorman              Mike Harper

Director                                          Assistant Director                        Museum Board President

116 Pearl Street      P.O. Box 1094      Minden, LA 71058-1094     318-377-3002


Thursday, September 15, 2022


 The Dorcheat Museum was finally able to celebrate 15 years of being open!  After two years of not being able to have museum functions due to covid issues, the museum patrons came out in full force.  With somewhere between 150-200 people in attendance for the cake auction.  Over 8K was raised in cakes alone.  Mike Harper the new board president presented outgoing President Lou Snook with an award for her years of service to the museum. A good time was had by all with some hot and heavy bidding wars for some great looking and probably even better tasting cakes.  Jessica Gorman was introduced to everyone as the incoming Executive Director for the museum.  Schelley Francis will be going to volunteer status in 2023 after 16 years of serving as director.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Springing Forward For 2022




Dear, Supporters of the Dorcheat Historical Museum,

Spring is in the air, and even though we are still a little slow on visitors due to Covid, we have seen a surge of interest in what is going on at the museum.  We had hopes that by the fall of 2021 we would be back in full swing with our speakers at the museum….but due to ongoing concerns we have chosen to wait it out for a while longer as a safe-guard for our patrons.  We are working on two events that we hope you will participate in! 

Our TIE ONE ON Apron exhibit and event are going on now!  Even if you don’t have an apron but may have a handwritten recipe and a few older pictures of the recipe writer that will work and be included in the cookbook that will be offered at the end of the event. The TIE ONE ON exhibit will run from now until Oct 1st, 2022.  Our BIG NEWS IS ALSO THAT OUR GALA will HAPPEN THIS YEAR….it will be a part of the TIE ONE ON exhibit and will take place Monday Sept 12th, 2022…more details to follow on that.

It is still our hope that we can honor John Agan once we get back to hosting events. In fact we would like to highlight all three of the History Keepers with a program to include information about John Agan, Dr. Longino and Mrs. Campbell.  I think, without these three people, much of our history would be gone forever.  It seems so appropriate to us and would be a wonderful tribute to celebrate all of them together in a special evening event.

Now to tell you about the progress that we have made in just a few short months…. BIG DRUM ROLL FOR Jessica Stewart Gorman of Minden!  She has agreed to come onboard as part of the Museum family of History Keepers.  She is an avid genealogy researcher and knows so much about Minden’s past history.  Many have met her at the Genealogy meetings at the Webster Parish Library or at the museum. She has done so much work at the Minden Cemetery repairing headstones. It is amazing to see her passion to work and repair these.  She is very knowledgeable about Minden’s history and all the family connections of the past.  She has a passion for our history that you don’t see often in a person of her age.  She is very dedicated to the museum and all our history.  I laugh and I am not sure she takes it as a complement when I tell her “She is me 20 years ago”.  She is much better at newer technology than I ever hoped to be and she has worked at getting us going with a Dorcheat Museum Youtube Channel!  You can now go and watch FREE our “Nights For The Museum” speakers!  This alone will be a great asset to the museum and keeping history alive and in front of people.  We can share all the oral history we have collected since 2008!  We have over 68 videos being uploaded and more to follow.  So subscribe to our channel and check it often.  We are also sharing those on a regular basis via Facebook when possible.  I am so excited to finally have someone that figured out how to get them uploaded! 

With Jessica onboard, now we have been able to meet more people afterhours and on the weekends with call ahead visit request.  This is working out great to have someone else that is knowledgeable of both museum and cemetery.  During Christmas, we were even able to be the tour guides on the hayrides through the historic district telling our history and leading a Christmas song or two!

Another great and much needed thing we now have is a nice website we can now take credit cards for items plus you can make financial donations online at your convenience.  We even have it set up if you would like to make a regular monthly donation.  The website has a sample of our books that you can see, easy click button to take you to the Youtube channel, it is a nice overview of what we are all about and our progress.   Check it out, we think you will like what you see.

Coming soon at Minden Brookshire’s grocery, will be a special installation of historic area pictures that will highlight Webster/Minden history and our museum. This is a collaboration with the remodel team of this store.  We are in hopes this great visual will bring much needed attention to the museum.

Minden/Webster Parish is ever changing but with your help we can keep some of the past preserved.  Our rich history seems to fade more quickly than ever these days. History is not there for us to change.  It is there for us to learn from.  I hope that you will continue to help us keep Webster parish history alive for future generations.  So many want things to do in Webster Parish…. but so few are willing to support it.  We ask that you not be that person.  Every dollar is so much appreciated and with the rising cost of everything it is needed more and more.

You can make a difference at the museum for 2022.  We will greatly appreciate any help you can offer financially.  Remember we are a 501 C3 nonprofit.  You can now donate online with our new website  for your convenience. 


Schelley Brown Francis                Jessica Stewart Gorman             Louise Baird Snook

Dorcheat Museum Director          Assistant Director                       Dorcheat Museum Board President

116 Pearl Street      P.O. Box 1094      Minden, LA 71058     Phone#318-377-3002

Museum Welcomes Jessica Gorman

Click Here For Webster Journal Story 

By Paige Nash

Jessica Stewart Gorman is officially onboard as part of the “Museum Family of History Keepers” at Dorcheat Historical Museum. She was born and reared in Minden and graduated Minden High School in 1997. She has been a stay-at-home-mom for a little more than 19 years.  

She originally started working at the Minden Cemetery located south of Bayou Avenue by the Coca-Cola plant, close by the downtown district. She began there around March 2020 when she found herself with more free time due to Covid. The cemetery is separated into two sections, with Jessica focusing most of her work on the older section.  

“I always had an interest in cemeteries,” Gorman said, “It evolved from going to our local cemetery and seeing the condition that it is in, seeing something that is broken, and instead of just thinking, ‘Oh, that is such a shame,’ to wondering, ‘Is there something I can do about that?’ I really wanted to learn the right way to do it and be able to make a small difference.” 

The Minden Cemetery holds many early business leaders, teachers, politicians, doctors and 21 unnamed Confederate soldiers who lost their lives after the Battle of Mansfield. Many of the older gravestones were destroyed or covered during a tornado that came through the town on May 1,1933.  

“It started with just uncovering things that were buried and cleaning dirt off the stones,” Gorman said, “But now that I have attended a cemetery preservation workshop and received some hands-on instruction on how to properly do it – such as what products to use – I finally feel like I have enough substantial knowledge that I could really help to preserve and not cause harm to any of it.” 

It was in November of last year that Schelley Brown Francis, Executive Director of the Dorcheat Historical Museum Association, asked Gorman if she would like to begin assisting her at the museum. So far, she has helped get the Dorcheat Museum YouTube channel up and running where they are sharing all the oral history that has been collected since 2008, along with setting up new exhibits, such as the Minden Hospital and BB Gun exhibit. 

“She is just like I was 20 years ago,” said Francis, “I have been praying for several years about who was going to take this over after I left. When you put your heart and soul into something for so many years, you worry about it. I did not want to see all this hard work just go away.” 

Francis says she feels confident that Gorman understands the important task at hand and rests assured the museum will be well cared for when she decides to step away. She believes it will help reach a different generation, having a younger person with as much passion and knowledge about Minden’s history. 

One of the main struggles they are facing right now is getting the younger generation of people interested and helping to financially support the museum. 

“A lot of people I know, do not even know it is here,” said Gorman, “We need to start with getting more awareness out there.” 

Like most businesses, Dorcheat Historical Museum was shut down for about 6 months during Covid. They have remained slow on visitors ever since, but they are optimistic that things will be back in full swing soon. They are hoping to get back to having speakers and hosting events again. 

 The museum is now accepting online donations on their new website