BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Visitor's Center has opened what could be one of its most popular collections on display. There are small ones, of course, to go with that big one right outside its window.
The collection was decades in the making, courtesy of Biloxi resident James Day. He has had a life-long passion for lighthouses, particularly those along the southeastern coastline.
Just days ago, the Biloxi Visitors Center received the final pieces to the collection.
The new exhibit of the limited edition Harbour Lights lighthouse replicas features 27 pieces collected by Day and his wife, Tonie, during their travels around the country after he retired from a 30 year Air Force career.
The permanent collection, which is worth about $3,500, is in the lobby of the Biloxi Visitor's Center.
"My wife got me into it, Tonie, she collects Humbles. She said, 'you need to get a hobby,' so I started collecting lighthouses, and I like them," Day said.
His favorite replica is the Biloxi lighthouse, but he is also partial to the Round Island lighthouse pieces from before and after Hurricane Georges in 1998.
Bill Raymond, Biloxi Visitor's Center Manager and City Historical Administrator, said the collection is an important display for Coast culture.
"To have this collection here, right as you walk in the front door, for people to see is an important thing for the visitor's center and for Biloxi," said Raymond.
So why did Day give up his collection? He's simply paying it forward.
"It's not what you do for yourself. It's what you do for others that count," Day said. "It was my time to give back to the community."