Battlefield Museum changes hands|[7/26/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Vicksburg Battlefield Museum is under new management, and the owner said improvements are planned.

The museum, now adjacent to Battlefield Inn in an ironclad-replica building, features the world’s largest collection of miniature Mississippi River boats.

It had its beginnings by Lamar Roberts as the Gray and Blue Naval Museum at 1823 Clay St. in the early 1990s. After growth, it moved to 1102 Washington St., where it remained until moving to North Frontage Road and the new building in 2003.

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At that location, the museum was consolidated with The Vanishing Glory, an audiovisual presentation depicting Vicksburg during the Campaign for Vicksburg in 1862-63.

“I bought Lamar out,” said Warner Byrum, owner of the Battlefield Inn and previously a partner in the museum.

Byrum said he and Roberts signed the paperwork about 10 days ago. Since, Peggy Dudley, who had worked with Roberts a couple of years ago, has been named manager of the museum.

“We are going to continue to run it,” Byrum said, “and we are going to try to make some improvements.”

They will include music, such as Dixieland jazz playing softly when visitors enter the museum from the parking lot it shares with the motel.

“It’s a little sterile, as all museums are,” he said.

Byrum also said he planned to make some additions to the product lines available for sale to visitors as souvenirs and improve signage leading to the museum.

Byrum said Roberts will remain as a consultant to the museum, but Roberts declined to discuss his role at the museum or his plans.