Cash-strapped Civil War museum needs repairs

BY LENA MITCHELL

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – Docents for the Verandah-Curlee House Museum will be invited to the Jan. 16 board of trustees meeting to learn more about what the board is doing to maintain the historic structure, said board President James “Sonny” Boatman.

Three of the paid volunteers who conduct tours at the museum attended a recent city board meeting to air their concerns that they are in the dark about what is happening at the city-owned property.

Trustees closed the museum during the Christmas and New Year holidays as a cost-cutting measure, with plans to reopen it by appointment only after Jan. 3, but the docents said they learned of the closure secondhand.

No money

Critical repairs to the National Historic Landmark are needed, which include the roof and porch floor, Boatman said, but money is not in the budget nor has grant money been forthcoming.

“Ten years ago we received quite a large grant from (the Mississippi) Archives and History, and we replaced the roof, the porch floors and many of the things we need to replace again now,” Boatmen said.

Although more than one expert on historic properties, preservation and so forth have been commissioned to evaluate the building's problems, “somehow some of those leaks we have not been able to trace down the source,” he continued.

As urgent as the need is now, the problem cannot be resolved without sufficient funds, he said.

“I believe people and corporations in this area would support it if they knew the needs,” docent Judy Tompkins said at the city board meeting. “People will help you if you ask, but you have to ask.”

Beyond asking for donations, Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission chairman Rosemary Williams has been working toward having the National Park Service assume operation and management of the property, said Mayor Jerry Latch.

“It's a beautiful old historic home and we're proud to have it in Corinth,” Latch said. “They just put in for a grant to do some work on it and were turned down. We hope the National Park Service can take it over, and (Williams) is still working toward that.”

Contact Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com