New naval and maritime museum in the works for Jackson County

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County could soon have its very own warship museum to honor and celebrate the naval and maritime heritage in South Mississippi.

The old Pascagoula High Math and Science Building could soon be transformed into a new museum, overflowing with timeless warship artifacts and memorable.

"We are probably the leading state in numbers of ships built or one of the leading states in the nation, and yet we have no maritime museum to show all the efforts that have been done over three centuries in our area," Maritime Museum group President Pat Keen said.

"We meet people all the time that said, 'Oh, I was working this ship or that ship.' That just thrills us because we will be able to honor all these people," Maritime Museum group member Delores Early said.

Volunteers Pat Keen and Delores Early are members of the Mississippi Maritime & Warship Museum group that's working to buy this facility.

"We will have to pay a small fee for the transfer. We will be signing the deed transfer next week to have the ownership of the property," Keen said.

They know the building needs some work and they'll be seeking grant money to restore it.

"It had some flooding during Katrina, but not otherwise damaged," said Keen.

Keen and Early are hoping this warship tribute museum will also be a magnet for tourists.

"There are so many clubs, organizations that make tours of places like this. I think they would make this a destination," Early said.

Group members said once they get this museum up and running, they will then concentrate more on the second phase of the project. They want to buy and bring the U.S. Navy's first Aegis Classic Cruiser, The USS Ticonderoga, back here in Jackson County and established as a museum and learning center.

It will cost more than $30 million to bring the Ticonderoga ship to Jackson County. The ship was built in the 1980s at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula.

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