2010 promises to be a busy year for Ohr-O'Keefe Museum

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - 2010 promises to be a busy and exciting year for the The Ohr-O'Keefe museum in Biloxi. A new exhibit opened at the museum Friday and three new buildings are scheduled for a grand opening late this year.

Denny Mecham is excited by what she sees outside her new office.

"This is the Mississippi Sound welcome center. And you can see one of the cranes right through the trees. This incredibly blue sky, it's a perfect coast day," said the museum executive director.

Director Mecham anticipates a perfect year, punctuated by grand openings.

"2010 we plan to open the Mississippi Sound Welcome Center, The IP Casino Resort Exhibitions Gallery and the Gallery of African-American Art. And those are the three buildings on what we call the 'east campus' because they're on the end of the four acre site. And we'll be opening those November 5, 2010," she said.

The museum staff has relocated from the Swetman House to the Creel Cottage, just north of the new campus.

"We're just excited as a staff and as an organization to be at the site with all the energy and seeing these buildings completed. It's just wonderful," Mecham said.

Friday marks the opening of the first major exhibit at the Pleasant-Reed Interpretive Center. Biloxi collector Hershel Lippman is displaying a portion of his extensive collection of paintings.

"The work of a collector is no small feat. It takes many, many years to put together a collection like this. And it's really a charming group of work," she said.

Of all the buildings on the museum campus, the stainless steel pods continue to attract the most attention. The signature structures will eventually be linked together with a glass enclosed walkway and will be the final buildings finished.

"The pods are the dessert. They're probably the most interesting architectural set of the five buildings. And will be spectacular," Mecham promises.

The museum has raised $28 million of the $35 million needed to finish the new campus.

The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum is raising additional funds by selling bricks for $100 each. The engraved bricks will be used for a large brick plaza on the north side of the four acre site.

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