The Greek and Roman antiquities collection at the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses at has gotten a boost as part of a $27,000 gift from a local auxiliary group.
The Friends of the Museum is directing $12,000 toward the reinstallation of the Greek and Roman antiquities collection, which will be housed in the museum's original Mary Buie wing. Another $12,500 in seed funding is designated to support the University Museum's next five exhibitions, and $2,500 is supporting the installation of the museum's next outdoor sculpture.
Robert Saarnio, named museum director in fall 2012, said he inherited a dedicated group of community leaders who are passionate about the museum.
"We are profoundly and deeply grateful for the Friends of the Museum's continued activities on behalf of the museum," he said. "As a result of their events and annual fundraiser, we are able to provide more educational programs and enhance access to the museum's collections for north Mississippi."
The organization supports the museum's programs, activities and acquisitions through community advocacy, outreach and fundraising, said Dorothy Howorth, the group's president.
"This gift is not a one-time donation for us. Our support is and will be ongoing," she said. "The Friends' funding is intended to enhance the university's collections, programs and activities for generations to come."
The city of Oxford owned the museum on University Avenue until 1974, when it deeded the property to Ole Miss. Howorth said the Friends of the Museum organization probably originated during that time and has evolved into an active support organization.
While small contributions remain important, group members are also pursuing events to focus more attention on the museum, Howorth said. This past fall the organization hosted an inaugural Harvest Supper on the grounds of Rowan Oak, the home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Now owned by the university, Rowan Oak is under the direction of the University Museum.
"The Harvest Supper was created as an annual event that will raise money and awareness, and stimulate contributions at a higher level," she said. "It allows us to showcase Rowan Oak and to celebrate and enjoy it as a place of living history.
"The museum is an important part of the community's cultural life, and as one of the few professionally staffed museums in north Mississippi, it has tremendous potential to do more. Serving a broader community more fully simply requires more community support, and that is what the Friends of the Museum is trying to do."
The next Harvest Supper is slated for Oct. 10.
The University Museum is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, visit www.museum.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7073.
For more information on supporting the University Museum and Historic Houses through private gifts, contact Michael Upton, development officer, at 662-915-3027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses complex serves as a cultural center for the Oxford-University community. Among holdings are Southern folk art, Greek and Roman antiquities, 19th-century scientific instruments, and American fine art. Part of the Museum complex is Rowan Oak, the historic literary legacy that was once the home of William Faulker, the Nobel and Pultizer Prize-winning author. The Museum also owns the Walton-Young Historic House – once home to critic and satirist Stark Young – and provides tours of the restored 1880 Victorian household.
The University Museum, which is accredited by the American Association of Museums, is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of Mississippi and the American South. The Museum pursues research, education, documentation, and the presentation of art, science and history. Activities include exhibitions, demonstrations, learning luncheons, community events, educational workshops and children's events.