Volunteers help clean artifacts after museum fire - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Volunteers help clean artifacts after museum fire

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Some pieces of history were burned and charred beyond repair during last Thursday's fire at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Museum Executive Director Lise Foy says crews have to salvage what was left behind as they clean up.

"Once we get through the debris removal we will be recovering those artifacts," described Foy. "They'll go through a triage process with some museum collections professionals, along with other volunteers."

A surrey or carriage was one of the rescued items.

"It was inside maintenance shop and staff pulled it out," said Foy. "They were able to recover it."

But the parts that connect it to the horses are burned beyond repair. So is the wagon equipment for the mules. It's a key reason the annual Country Christmas event had to be canceled.

Little Ashland Clark is a regular museum volunteer who loves the mules, Joe and Sally.

"For his 10th birthday,his wish is to do a fundraiser to raise enough money to be able to replace the harnesses for the mules," said Foy.

If you'd like more information on Ashland's plan to help, click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1597448287143577/#!/events/1597448287143577/

Lise Foy will be relying on donations volunteers in the coming weeks.

"We do not have the manpower with collection staff to be able to get through the amount of artifacts that need to be recovered and cleaned and stored," she admitted.

Three buildings were destroyed by the flames. But others got the after-effects. Ash and soot drifted into ventilation system in the main museum building. Employees from the Vicksburg National Military Park are lending their expertise to examine and clean artifacts in the school house.

"Have to handle everything will just carefully," described Elizabeth Joyner, Vicksburg National Military Park Museum Curator. "Realizing that they're fragile. The bindings may be loose. The covers might be loose. They may be losing pages."

Foy said they can put anybody to work at the museum grounds. So if you don't have specialized training, you can still volunteer your time. Call the museum at 601-432-4500 for details.

The Museum plans to remain closed to the public until December 1. Private, pre-scheduled events will be accommodated.

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