Mississippi Sound Museum Anchors In Gulfport

If you wipe the dirt off the replica boat builder's window inside Gulfport's new museum, you get a pretty clear view of Mississippi history.

David Andre is the museum's executive director. He said his facility "is the beginning of our effort to capture the heritage of the Mississippi Sound. This is the first time you can walk around a room and see our history portrayed."

As soon as you walk into the 24th Avenue museum, you see a replica of an early 20th century skiff. And you run into Lester Lautenschlaeger.

The Pass Christian man is an annual member of the museum. He volunteered to tie the skiff's sail to the museum's centerpiece, so it would be ready for Saturday's grand opening.

"I love boats," he said.

Andre hatched this museum concept in 1996. Since then, the project has sailed through some very stormy seas.

The director needed a lot of patience and a lot of help from Gulfport Seabees to transform Harrison County's old library into a learning center for people interested in the Mississippi Sound. Now eight years later, he's finally ready to raise the sail on his odyssey.

"We hope to be able to publicize it," he said, "and let people know that there is a third coast on the U.S. And that Mississippi is part of it."

Andre's museum dusts off the history of the Mississippi Sound on Saturday. The grand opening festivities start at 11:00.