Natchez needs museum conversation

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 6, 2015

On the eve of Natchez’s 300th birthday celebration, one glaring omission in the city’s tourism landscape stands out — we lack a true Natchez museum.

Like many things in Natchez, our museums are in some ways splintered. We have a museum of historic Natchez photographs. We have a mini-museum inside the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and Historic Jefferson College both offer detailed looks at particular segments of Natchez history.

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We have the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, which tells the history of one segment of our people.

Natchez is blessed to have the Historic Natchez Foundation, which houses a treasure trove of Natchez archives and serves as the brain trust for all things historic in Natchez.

Unfortunately, no one place attempts to pull all of those pieces of Natchez’s history together.

We were reminded of that recently when we learned of the city’s efforts to restore antique fire-fighting apparatuses in the city’s inventory.

The large historic objects have been housed outside — though covered — for years, causing the elements to take their toll.

Fortunately the city is working to restore them. Unfortunately, Natchez doesn’t really have a proper museum in which to house and showcase such things.

Tentative plans call for the fire equipment to be housed — at least temporarily — at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

While we’re glad they will be out of the elements, we certainly wish our community could figure out a way to create a Natchez museum at which such things could be on permanent display.

Perhaps a conversation on how the city can begin saving for such a long-term endeavor is merited soon.