NTA gives grant to Mississippi's Ohr-O'Keefe Museum

The board of directors of the National Tour Association voted to donate $4,320 to the rebuilding of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Miss.

The proceeds were raised during a luncheon at the association's 2005 annual convention in Detroit.

An affiliate of the Smithsonian, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum presents artistic expressions of the cultural heritage of the Gulf Coast region.

Located along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the museum was almost completely destroyed when Hurricane Katrina hurled a casino hotel barge across the highway onto part of the museum. TW.com photo by David CogswellTen of the 26 oak trees on the museum grounds also were lost during the storm.

The donation will go toward completing the raised terrace of the new museum campus, which will give the trees a place to grow.

Prior to the hurricane, a new museum designed by Frank Gehry was under construction and scheduled to open in July 2006. While the museum's buildings and grounds sustained significant damage, including complete devastation to the Pleasant Reed frame house, the collections weathered the storm in a secure location before being moved to the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Ala.

The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum recently opened a temporary facility at the Glenn L. Swetman House just off Beach Boulevard in Biloxi. The Swetman House, a city property and on the National Register of Historic Places, will be used to host full museum operations, including exhibitions and classes.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to David Cogswell at [email protected].

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