Making A Difference: Lauren Rogers Museum - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Making A Difference: Lauren Rogers Museum

Lauren Rogers Museum, Source: WLBT Lauren Rogers Museum, Source: WLBT
LAUREL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

One of the premier museums in the South East is in Laurel, Mississippi; the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. It opened in 1925 and has never charged admission.

Now, had the young man Lauren Rogers never lived, this museum would have never been built. And further, had he not died at such a young age, it probably would have never been built either.

His family established the Museum as a proxy, to do for Laurel after his death the wonderful things they assumed their son would no doubt have done for the city had he lived.

“They really thought that had he lived, he was going to contribute greatly to Laurel. Cause they thought, had he lived he was going to be doing great things. And so they wanted something to really be a public memorial, said Executive Director George Bassi. "And so when Lauren passes away the family had a strong interest in art. His great aunt had Native American baskets, the family, his grandparents and his parents had European and American paintings. They really thought they wanted an art museum and at the time Laurel did not have a standalone public library. So another part of this mission was to also be the public library. That’s really the reason they did it. They really wanted to honor him. It’s really been a great story for us because part of that honoring they decided to do was to never charge admission. We’ll build you and we’ll set up an endowment to get you started. But we really don’t want anyone to not come and learn something because they can’t afford to. And they really thought that that would really prove his legacy and how important he would have been to the community.”

So since 1925 the people who live in Laurel have had their own art gallery including other collections most of us would never see if not in a museum.

Laurel school agers, for generations. have been influenced by what they’ve seen here when they’ve come here on class field trips. They’ve had their horizons expanded way beyond the city limits of Laurel.

Laurel is attracting young families back there today, to fix up the old homes so they can raise their children in the atmosphere of the town; an atmosphere greatly influenced by Lauren Rogers’ family who started a museum so their son’s memory could Make A Difference in the city.

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