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Museum grand opening

Eighty-seven year old Poplarville resident Jean Smith said she enjoyed viewing the memorabilia at Thursday nights grand opening of the Poplarville Historical Preservation Society’s museum. Her husband Harlon’s newspaper story about his time in a German POW camp is on display at the museum.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

Eighty-seven year old Poplarville resident Jean Smith said she enjoyed viewing the memorabilia at Thursday nights grand opening of the Poplarville Historical Preservation Society’s museum. Her husband Harlon’s newspaper story about his time in a German POW camp is on display at the museum.
Photo by Cassandra Favre


It was a historic Thursday evening in Poplarville as the Poplarville Historical Preservation Society celebrated the grand opening of their museum.
According to Poplarville Historical Preservation Society President Joan Bassett, more than 100 people attended the big event.
The first exhibit hosted by the society honors local heroes and military personnel from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The exhibit includes an assortment of war medals, photographs, newspaper clippings, war uniforms and much more.
Bassett said she received many compliments and expressed appreciation from community members whose families were honored at the event.
“Guests said they were truly impressed with the work we had done on the military exhibit,” Bassett said. “I felt it was a very successful evening and I’m hoping people will come back to visit and help the museum to grow. We are striving to help more people become interested in the past, it’s a wonderful education for them.”
Local author Jane Marshall Brister attended the event and signed copies of her book “It’s a Mystery: God is Outside All Our Boxes.” All proceeds from book sales were donated to the museum.
Arlene Petchnick Adreneaux is originally from Washington State but has resided in Poplarville since 2000.
Adreneaux served in the Navy Medical Corpwave from 1956 to 1960 and loaned a picture of herself in full uniform to the museum.
“I think it’s so nice to see my picture hanging in the museum,” Adreneaux said. “Things were a lot different for women back.”
Eighty-seven-year old Jean Smith said viewing the old pictures made her long for an era gone by.
Smith and her husband Harlon were married for 64 years until his death a few years ago.
During World War II, Smith said, Harlon was held captive in a German prison camp for 14 months. The newspaper wrote a story about Harlon’s time in the camp and that account is hanging on the wall at the museum.
“It’s beautiful,” Smith said. “I love reading all the letters and seeing pictures of the people I went to school with.”
Senator Tony Smith said the museum is an excellent asset for the city.
“I was surprised to see the old photographs,” Smith said. “The history of this country is amazing and also the men and women who paid the price so we could stand here on this beautiful Thursday afternoon and not be afraid.”
Poplarville Mayor Brad Necaise said that in a world of electronic media, people are moving at a fast pace and overscheduled.
“People have a tendency to forget that our freedoms, abilities and opportunities were created by the men and women whose lives are display in that museum,” Necaise said. “And if we’re going to move forward without reflection on the past, do we really know where we’re going? We’re very fortunate to have this museum here.”
The museum is located at 101 North Main St., Suite B. and is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Bassett said the group welcomes artifact donations, but people are asked to contact her first to discuss the items due to space limitations. They will take items on temporary and permanent loan and make copies of photographs.
For more information about the museum and society, contact Bassett at 601-795-8736.