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Museum construction progresses in Jackson
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Structural construction on Mississippi's long-awaited 4-H museum is officially under way.
The July 20, 2002, groundbreaking for the Pete Frierson Mississippi 4-H Museum in Jackson began phase one of the project. During this time, organizers raised funds and prepared for the initial construction of the museum.
Phase two, the actual construction of the building, was put on hold until volunteers could be located to help lay the foundation. Initially expected to begin in August, this stage of the museum construction should be completed in November of this year.
"The museum is being built on the grounds of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum here in Jackson," said Morris Houston, 4-H youth development officer with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Most of this area was once a large landfill, so special considerations were needed for the foundation."
The museum is being constructed on pilings, or poles, that are driven about 20 feet into the ground until they reach a solid layer of soil. Finding a construction company with the capability to drive the pilings and the time to complete the project proved difficult.
"Hill Brothers Construction Co. of Faulkner, which happens to be in Jackson working on an interstate highway project, agreed to do the job," Houston said. "They provided the equipment and substantial logistical requirements, and about 12 of their employees volunteered an entire weekend to do the work. This would have been a major cost and is just one example of the generosity of our donors to this project."
The 4-H museum is named after Pete Frierson, a 4-H alumnus and longtime supporter of 4-H programs in Mississippi. Frierson and his family were present for the groundbreaking of the museum, which will contain 2,000-square feet of floor space. The building will blend with the agrarian style of the Agriculture and Forestry Museum complex, which is visited by more than 125,000 people annually.
With a target completion date in the fall of 2004, the 4-H museum will house photographs, documents and other artifacts, in addition to interactive educational displays that will involve visitors in the history of 4-H in Mississippi. The displays will also provide educational information from the diverse curriculums offered through the Mississippi 4-H program.
A planned web site will make the museum available to interested people around the world.
The national 4-H centennial anniversary took place in 2002, and Houston said Mississippi's 4-H program has been around since the club's first days. Mississippi became the first state to receive federal money to support boys' and girls' demonstration clubs in 1907 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored clubs in Holmes County.
"Besides the historical and educational value offered by the museum, we see this project as a very important promotional tool for 4-H. We are especially excited about the prospect of reaching so many young children from the Jackson Metro area as they make their school field trips," Houston said.
"The museum will also offer us a unique opportunity to recognize the volunteers, donors and supporters of our state's youth through 4-H," Houston added.
During phase three of the 4-H museum project, coordinators will develop a display theme and design for the museum. Also during this phase, an open fund-raising campaign will be initiated so that alumni, 4-H county and club programs, and the general public can participate in the project. County 4-H programs are already collecting and holding artifacts for the museum.
To learn more about the 4-H museum project, provide artifacts or make a donation, contact Houston by telephone at (601) 829-3611 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.