Mayor Jim Blevins addressed a gathering Thursday outside what used to be the rambling back portion of Pascagoula’s High School many years ago.
The area has been transformed into an activity center for the Mississippi Maritime Museum.
He explained the significance of the $540,000 project, which is the beginning of the Mississippi Maritime Museum.
“This is not Pascagoula’s Maritime Museum, this is not Jackson County’s Maritime Museum, this is not Mississippi’s Maritime Museum,” he said. “This is a museum for shipbuilders across the nation ... a coastal gift.”
And where better to place a museum to shipbuilding, with the city’s history in the craft and home to Ingalls Shipbuilding? He and others pointed out that the first shipbuilders came to the area in 1699, when French explorer D’Iberville landed in the area, went upriver and cut cypress for ships.
The activity center opening kicks off fund-raising to renovate other sections of the old high school to be the actual museum. They need $4.75 million.
Dr. Jack Hoover, a founding member of the museum project and the man credited with coming up with the idea for Pascagoula, spoke. His wife, Peggy Hoover, broke the champagne bottle over the entrance to the new center as a christening.
The museum got a firm start after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when then Gov. Haley Barbour helped secure some early funding.
Projected date for the museum is 2020.