Say hello to Gulfport's new welcome center and museum

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - "Study the past if you would define the future." Those words were once said by Confucius and those are the words the Historical Society of Gulfport strives toward for its city.

Wednesday, that society got a new home, the old courthouse on Courthouse Road.

Hoping to highlight Gulfport's history, members will be making that building a museum and welcome center for the city.  There was a celebration as council members approved the resolution.  "I am so pleased to be here today," said President of the Historical society Betty Shaw. "This is something that is just absolutely wonderful,"

Shaw was honored.  "We don't want to be that city next to Biloxi. We want to be that city with Biloxi next to us," she said.

Because Gulfport is the second largest city in the state, many believe this decision is long overdue.

"Gulfport has a wonderful history. Those stories need to be told and celebrated as part of telling the story of the community as a whole," said executive director for Mississippi Heritage Trust Lolly Barnes.

Barnes was more than supportive of the new historical society's home.  "I'll be the first visitor at the beautiful new visitors center here in the city of Gulfport," said Barnes.

Shaw said the historical society has only been around two years.  But since it was established, members have been working to get a museum and welcome center off the ground. That's because Shaw feels Gulfport has a history worth highlighting.

"Things about downtown. The banking history, some of the other things about the other areas of town," said Shaw.

Now that the decision has been made, all that's left to do is celebrate the future by preserving the past.  Shaw said she's not sure when the museum and welcome center will be up and running, but everyone is eager to get that process started.

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