NAPAC renovations to start Saturday

Published 11:10 pm Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NATCHEZ — As long as Darrell White has been in his position, he’s stared at things that could be better.

Now, the director of the Natchez Association from the Preservation of African American Culture museum is looking forward to beginning renovations and refurbishments to the museum.

Through donations and money from tours, White said NAPAC now has enough money to begin a three-pronged project to sharpen up the interior of the building.

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“If all goes well, starting this coming Saturday, some initial restoration will be started and that’s scraping, patching and painting,” he said.

This portion of the restoration will hopefully be done by mid-September, he said.

“All the restoration work will cumulate with the refurbishing of the Richard Wright Exhibit Hall,” he said.

This refurbishing includes more scraping, painting and patching but also some ceiling work.

“At some point we hope to be able to get additional electrical works for exhibit lighting,” White said.

White said he hopes the refurbishment will be complete by late October.

White said he hopes the entire restoration project of the building will include installing new floors.

Once the refurbishment of the exhibit hall is complete, it may be given a special designation.

“The Mississippi Librarian’s Association are the ones that made the nomination that the exhibit hall here in Natchez be designated as National Literary Landmark,” he said.

The William Johnson house has already received this designation and was given a marker.

White said he hopes the museum will receive the designation.

“It’d be a tremendous asset,” White said. “It opens the door for literary buffs to come and explore the museum and it also enhances the stature of the museum to have that dedication.”

White does not know what the entire cost of this restoration overhaul is, but he estimates it will be around $12,000.

“We would love to be able to spend more but that’s about all that’s been allocated,” he said while referring to the museum’s budget as tight.

He said he’s been ready to start these projects “from day one of me going in there,” and sees the benefits even before it’s begun.

“By enhancing the facility, we are able to make a better presentation of the true significance and value of heritage tourism to the City of Natchez,” White said.