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Waveland’s Ground Zero Museum officially open to public this Friday
By Geoff Belcher
Jun 17, 2014, 20:23

Although it was dedicated last year, Waveland's Ground Zero Hurricane Museum will officially open to the public with regular business hours this Friday.
"This is the first time we have actually had regular hours," Waveland Ward 1 Alderman Lili Stahler – one of the principal organizers of the museum, said yesterday. "We've been putting together exhibits with no funding and no staffing. We've only opened it for special occasions, but we've had such good reception ... from both local people and visitors, so we thought it was time to make it available to people on a regular basis.
"The main reason it hasn't had regular hours is we haven't had the volunteer participation we had hoped for. I hope this acts as a catalyst to get people involved.
"I think it's an important piece of history, a piece of history both for Waveland and for the whole Coast. ... This isn't just a museum for Waveland – this is the only Katrina museum for the the entire Gulf Coast."
The museum, located at 335 Coleman Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. 
"We've got several exhibits in one room," Stahler said. "We also have the hallway exhibit which is to commemorate (the building) as it was as a school ... and we've got the carousel to honor the volunteers."
The Carousel of the Olympic Sea, was a gift from the Port Townsend Washington Carousel Association. The city of Waveland restored it and placed it inside the museum in May 2013.
Earlier this month, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History announced the entire building had been added to the U.S. list of National Historic Places.
The building served as the Waveland School from 1927 to the early '70s. After the school was closed, it became a civic center and a host for various groups such as the Boy Scouts, the Waveland Players (a performing arts group) and St. Vincent de Paul.
In the late '80s the building was officially closed because of deterioration, officials said.
In 1999, the city received funds to stabilize the building in hopes of one day restoring it to its original condition.
On Aug. 5, 2005, a renovation project began only to see the building virtually destroyed 24 days later by Katrina.
The new civic center used funds from the Mississippi Department of Archives and history, FEMA, and federal Community Revitalization Grants which were part of a $5.2 billion dollar allotment to Mississippi after the storm.
Stahler said the museum was also recently awarded a $2,000 community grant from the Walmart  Foundation. 
"This will allow us to install protective window tinting and LED lighting for our exhibit room to preserve our current and future exhibits from the damaging UV sun rays," she said.
Stahler said the museum is in desperate need of volunteers to act as docents for visitors.
To volunteer, call Stahler at 243-3235 or Donald Murphy at 493-3235.


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