Music, fancy foods, and lots of ladies in red. More than 500 people turned out at a glitzy Beau Rivage Gala - "George Paints the Town Red". The fundraiser, which included dinner, silent auction and raffle, benefits the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi.
Museum Director Marjie Gowdy said "The money goes to our educational programs and our exhibits. It makes all the difference in the world and what we can offer the community".
Now, the museum can offer even more to the Coast community, thanks to a surprise announcement from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. The Smithsonian has named the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum an affiliate, which means the Ohr Museum now has access to more than 142 million items in the National Museum's collections.
Smithsonian Program Coordinator Christina DiMeglio said "The primary function of the program is to get the collections out and the Ohr Museum would have the opportunity to borrow the objects from the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian has three pieces of Ohr Pottery in the American History Museum. They would possibly be available for the Ohr Museum to borrow and exhibit here in Biloxi".
Museum Supporter Wardie Jones said "That's wonderful ! The Smithsonian has such a history of all cultures, items, figurines, and documentations that families can go and attend".
In addition, The Smithsonian will provide training, resources and share research with the Ohr staff. Through its web site, magazine and newsletters, the Smithsonian will also help spread the word about the Mad Potter's treasures.
Marjie Gowdy said "It's a very prestigious affiliation, so we're quite excited. Plus, George Ohr always wanted to have his pots in the Smithsonian, so he would be so proud too".
The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum is the second museum in Mississippi to become partners with the Smithsonian. The first is the Old Capital Museum in Jackson.