Seegraves Brings Lifetime of Love for Area to Museum
A lifetime love of the area is serving Paul L. Seegraves well as the director of the Rector Community Museum.
In his adult life, Seegraves has served in the Marine Corps, pastored churches in Alabama, Michigan and Montana, and been on mission trips in Belarus, Romania and Turkey. Yet, during these travels, one place has remained home: Rector.
"The adage is 'There's no place like home,' and that's true," Seegraves said. "No matter where I'm at in the world, I refer to Rector as home. I've been back here about four years and there's honestly nowhere else I'd rather be. This is home."
Seegraves, a 1962 RHS graduate, first visited the museum shortly after returning to the area. He quickly offered his services as a volunteer at the site, which ultimately led to his election as director this summer. Vice-chairman Joey Pruett, secretary Barbara Vangilder and treasurer Jane Holifield were also elected to the Board in June.
Since his first visit to the site, Seegraves has been impressed with the wealth of memories on display at the museum.
"Every time I come in here, I peruse the whole place, and this is almost an oxymoron, but I find some new thing at the museum," Seegraves said. "It'll be something we've had, but have just never really noticed due to all the items we have here. There are some fascinating things here."
While each piece has merits, Seegraves' favorite item is a photo of his grandmother holding his father and his aunt as young children.
"I like all the stuff we have, but that's my favorite, for obvious reasons."
Seegraves plans to make improvements to the museum.
"Some of the items aren't labeled," he noted. "That's something I want to take care as soon as possible. I don't want to do anything to take away from the appearance (of the items), but there needs to be something that helps identify those unlabeled pieces and ties back into our records. It's mainly for organizational use."
He also hopes to arrange the antique phones on opposite ends of the museum as part of an interactive display where "the kids can crank and call the other phone and let that give them a better idea of how they worked."
The museum continues to be a popular destination for visitors and long-time residents alike. Those interested in volunteering or donating items may contact (870) 595-1032. Regular hours for the site are 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. However, the site, which adjoins the Rector Public Library, may be visited at any time by entering via the library.