A great deal of groundwork has been laid for the Journey Stories exhibit in McComb, Mississippi, set to open this upcoming fall. The McComb community is gearing up for its visit from the Smithsonian with enthusiasm – community members are rallying to renovate the McComb City Railroad Depot Museum for the occasion! The exhibit’s fast-approaching presence encouraged McComb residents to paint the museum’s exterior with 5 historic colors, clean out the ticket office, store historic artifacts at the climate-controlled Space Place, and install a security system in the room that will display Journey Stories. It’s been 12 years since the museum has seen a “makeover” like this one! Accent South Mississippi lauds the museum’s efforts in their article All Aboard! which announces the exhibition opening: Accent South Article
McComb’s Denman High School is diving into Journey Stories subject matter, aligning their curriculum with the exhibit theme. History classes will focus on creating individual journey stories, while English classes compose journey stories, and Art classes illustrate various journey stories. In the words of Winnie Len Howell, McComb City Railroad Depot Museum Director, “The excitement is growing.”
One very unique aspect of McComb’s involvement with the exhibit is the community’s ability to gather journey stories from displaced Hurricane Katrina victims. Hurricane Katrina forced a journey upon many Americans, and the Journey Stories exhibit provides an excellent backdrop for the discussion of this modern migration. McComb’s Myra Ricouard is heading the Museum’s search for Katrina victims with stories to tell, stating “That’s what [the exhibit is] all about — journey stories. Where people ended up. Katrina put people here and people stayed; that’s a journey story.”
Katrina survivors will be honored at the exhibit’s opening reception on October 25, and the journey stories that are collected will be incorporated into McComb’s local exhibit. Ms. Ricouard, a displaced Katrina victim herself, is still searching for individuals with relocation stories to step forth and share the account of their journeys as a way to highlight the region’s recent local history. Please contact her at: 601-276-2107. An article from the Enterprise Journal provides additional details on the project: Enterprise Journal Article
Many thanks go out to all of the folks in McComb that have devoted their time and energy to prepare for the exhibit’s arrival. Special thanks go out to Kevin wells, owner of Space Place, and Danny Simmons, owner of Simmons Security. We would like to personally thank Winnie Len for this update, in addition to David Morgan of the Mississippi Humanities Council and Matt Williamson of the Enterprise Journal.
-- Roxanne Berschler, SITES, Washington D.C.