The museum in McDuffie County is moving forward thanks to a grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation to hire a consultant. Durel Consulting Partners will assist the museum board in compiling a master plan.
John and Anita Durel have worked with around 100 museums across the country to develop plans for preserving and presenting artifacts as well as fundraising and marketing to the public.
Members of the museum board are glad to receive the services of the Durels. They are also glad to get plans for the museum off the ground. After five visits over the next three months, the Durels should have the master plan ready by early March.
"It saves us a lot of time," said Rusty Lovelace, a member of the museum board. "He (Dr. Durel) knows exactly what we need to do, and he gives you all the different steps."
According to Dr. Durel, the first step is to find out everything he can about McDuffie County. With that knowledge, he can suggest what would be important to include in the museum.
"In these early stages we're essentially there to listen and to learn," Dr. Durel said. "So we're meeting with people and going on tours, getting to know the different parts of the county and land marks and so forth so that we can then help the people on the museum board make some decisions about how to move forward."
Dr. Durel said some of the early impressions about the county include a high importance on the church. Also holding a high place is recreation, including the lake, the Brickyard, the Blind Willie Blues Festival and the Belle Meade Hunt.
"The approach we take is that the museum should tell the stories and the history of the parts of life in the community that are important to the people in the community," he said. "é─ÂThere are a lot of things that seem to go on in your community that relate to being outside and being in the open air and on the land."
There are three kinds of people Dr. Durel said would be polled about what to include in the museum. Those are the museum board, community leaders and ordinary people who might not be initially interested in the museum.
Mr. Lovelace said the museum board met recently to further discuss the study. They also have a two-day retreat set up in January to discuss their view of the museum with Dr. Durel.