Ever since an electrical fire in August 2016 forced the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art to close its Mississippi Sound Welcome Center, the museum’s offerings have been squeezed into limited space.
But on Monday, Jan. 15, the museum, along with the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, will hold a ribbon cutting for the building, which is home to the Ohr’s admission desk, store, cafe and administrative offices.
That’s not all. The museum, which usually is closed on Mondays, will offer free admission all day Jan. 15.
Then on Thursday, Jan. 18, the new exhibition “City Within a City” will open, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.; the reception is free and open to the public. The exhibit “highlights the vibrant segregated African American community in Biloxi during the post-World War II years,” according to a media release from the museum.
The area, once known as “back of town,” was bordered by Caillavet Street, Bayou Auguste, Lee Street and the railroad tracks on the south side. Here, restaurants, theaters, night clubs and other businesses and schools thrived, and celebrities visited for performances. The project complements the City of Biloxi’s ongoing project to document historic buildings in the neighborhood.
Civil rights activist and author Flonzie Brown Wright will be at the museum from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 19 for the first session of OOMA’s Gallery Talk series in 2018. Wright, who was involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and ’70s, helped register thousands of voters in Mississippi. She was elected election commissioner in Madison County in 1968, making her the first black woman elected to office in Mississippi since Reconstruction. She is the author of “Looking Back to Move Ahead,” which chronicles her journey.