Making A Difference: Volunteers at The Army Corps of Engineers L - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Making A Difference: Volunteers at The Army Corps of Engineers Lower Mississippi River Museum

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As of today, there is an excellent museum in Vicksburg that is open, that would have otherwise have had to close earlier this week had it not been for volunteers who are Making A Difference.

The Army Corps of Engineers Lower Mississippi River Museum has been in operation in Vicksburg for about two years. And it's had a paid staff of contract workers up until now. But as budgets that looked fat and healthy a couple of years ago tend to look later, funding for staffing had to be diverted to more pressing issues. And so the Corp was faced with some tough choice.

"Well, obviously one of the alternatives was closing the museum down, which we looked at that and said that's not a very good one since it had only been in operation two years," said Johnny Kiser of the Vicksburg District Corps of Engineers.

And another very GOOD reason to keep the museum open, it fulfills one of the missions of the Corp of Engineers, to educate and inform us about what the Corp does and the importance of the Mississippi River, to not only we who live near it, but the whole nation.

"This museum tells the story about the early settlers, about the importance of with the Civil War, the depression, 1927 flood, of course," said Pat Hemphill of the Corps of Engineers Programs and Project Management. "And we are incorporating facets of the 2011 flood just to give you a parallel."

Obviously closing the museum would be a blow to that section of Vicksburg where so many other museums are located: The Old Depot Museum, the Coca-Cola Museum, The Old Courthouse Museum, are just some of them. So they decided to use volunteers to staff it and keep it open.

"The Vicksburg District has been using the volunteer program for some of our visitor centers in Louisiana for several years, and that has worked well," said Lawran Richter, a Natural Resources Specialist with the Corps of Engineers.

"The volunteers are allowing us to keep the museum open, continue to maintain this great museum that really is a gem for the city of Vicksburg," said Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District Commander, Col. John Cross.

Today was Pat Lang's first day on the job as a volunteer at the Lower Mississippi River Museum in Vicksburg. And it seems as if it will be a pretty interesting assignment.

First thing, we had some people from England, and so it's exciting to get to talk to them," said Lang.

And it's exciting to know that a quality museum will not only survive, but will thrive because volunteers are Making A Difference.

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