Sign near downtown vessel shows how museum will look

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2008

Completion of the Lower Mississippi Museum and Interpretive Site is at least three years away, but onlookers perusing downtown Vicksburg can now see what the finished product will look like.

An artist’s rendering of the museum affixed to poles alongside the MV Mississippi IV was unveiled Friday by Army Corps of Engineers project managers, accompanied by local elected leaders.

“We wanted to portray the vision of the museum,” said Doug Kamien, chief of planning, programs and project management division for the Vicksburg District. “It’s going to be great for downtown Vicksburg.”

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A watercolor rendering of the facility was reproduced for display by members of the Alcorn State University Department of Advanced Technologies, officials said. It shows the 1,450-ton retired motor vessel alongside a main building that will house exhibits featuring interactive views of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

The motor vessel will also be an exhibit and its interior rooms will be used for meeting space. The old Fairgrounds Street bridge, to be refurbished and serve as a walkway and observation deck, can be seen just south of the two larger structures.

Lee Grant, a program management official with the Corps and lead artist of the sign, said the first small piece of the multimillion-dollar project began as a printout from a basic inkjet printer.

“You never think your work will end up being seen,” Grant said. “But (the museum) is going to be great.”

Work to make the museum a reality began in September 2007 when the towboat was rolled into place in an event that drew hundreds of spectators. Since, the Corps has sought an additional $25 million appropriation from Congress on top of an initial $5 million allocation in 2006 in order to expedite construction. The need for more funding has set the opening date back to 2011.

Funding is largely dependent on reauthorization of the Energy and Water Development Act and the Water Resources Development Act, primary funding sources in recent decades for flood control, navigation and environmental projects undertaken by the Corps.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at