BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Beauvoir is looking to be a place where people seeking truth and knowledge can feel welcome, and a new institute may be just the way to reach that goal. In light of recent debate and protests sparked by the presence of Confederate statues and their place in society, the museum wants to bring everyone to the table.
Beauvoir's Executive Director, Tom Payne, hopes the new Beauvoir Institute can turn down the heat on a hot-button issue. The program will be geared toward shedding light on all parts of the South's involvement in the Civil War.
"Everybody wants information, they want the truth. I think that's the most important thing," Payne said. "I don't care what side you're on, on the issue, You, just as a rational, reasonable person you just want the truth."
Members of the Harrison County Republican Women's Club were the first to hear about the new initiative. Payne made the announcement during their monthly meeting at the Great Southern Golf Club.
Club Vice-President Sandra Lobrano said mending the old wounds goes beyond race and politics.
"I think educating people about both sides would probably be beneficial. Once you have the facts, and what's there at Beauvoir you can form your own opinions about how you feel about the heritage of the South and 'the war between the states,'" said Lobrano.
Payne said incorrect information has been spreading around for too long. He's enhancing the resources and artifacts at the museum and making them available to serve as a primary sourced curriculum for the public to indulge in.
"We are not propagandists. We don't want to come out and make things up. What we're trying to do is spread light and take some of the heat out of the divisiveness that's going on in our country. And hopefully it will enlighten people to the whole story," said Payne.
Payne said the library at Beauvoir needs funding to convert documents for digital preservation, but all of the resources are available for public research now.