It began as a small operation in the back of the Biloxi Library. Then plans developed to expand the George Ohr Museum to a beach-front landmark. After Hurricane Katrina, leaders are forced to start those plans all over. However, thanks to some local volunteers, South Mississippians may be able to enjoy the Ohr Museum sooner than expected.
"We were probably 40 percent complete with construction to five buildings. Just months before Hurricane Katrina, work was underway to build a five-part museum on this four acre property," says Roland Weeks with the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art.
Now leaders will try to rebuild a second time but first, comes cleanup.
"Only one of the buildings will be torn down completely," Weeks said.
Tearing down and rebuilding structures will be the second phase of the project. But the debris removal comes first. That's why people from around the coast showed up to volunteer their time for phase one of the rebuilding project.
"We looked at this place and we went "oooh, Lordy" but two hours later it's almost done," says Karen Keber, one of the many volunteers.
Karen and Scott Keber are patrons of the museum.
"George Ohr was one of the best potters in the world," says Scott Keber.
The couple says they respected Ohrs work and look forward to the finished product of the museum, that's why they don't mind volunteering. Now they're hoping others will do the same.
"I would encourage the rest of the patrons to come out and give a hand because if everybody that belonged to George Ohr came out for 15 minutes, we wouldn't have to come out but one time," Karen said.
Museum leaders say they will have the Ohr Gallery Pods complete by December 1st in time for a public celebration. In the meantime, leaders will schedule another volunteer clean-up day.
For more information or to learn how you can volunteer, you can call the museum at (228) 374-5547.