Rector Museum Grows Through Donations

Thursday, July 10, 2014
Those present Wednesday, July 2, for the announcement of the Rector Community Museum's plans to expand and move to a new home at the former Underwood Furniture were, from left: Front--Joey Pruett, Jane Holifield, Donald Gibbs, Johnny Williams, Mayor David Freeman, Bill Rabjohn and Terry Robertson. Back--Rita Dortch, Linda Greenway, Peggy Ingram, Pat Martin, Brenda Mills, Dortha Webb, Lynn Bookout and Leland Blackshare.

A huge effort is underway to expand the Rector Community Museum under the guidance of director Johnny Williams, and has been made possible by the assistance of two very special ladies.

Through a large, unspecified, donation by Mary McCluney Crews the Museum Board was able to purchase the former Underwood Furniture building, located at 310 and 312 South Main Street in downtown Rector. With the purchase, former owner Anita Underwood graciously included the buildings at 308 and 314 South Main Street as part of the sale, giving the museum additional properties for use.

With work underway at the former Underwood Furniture site in order to allow the museum to move from the small 35 x 35 square foot room adjoined to the Rector Public Library it currently uses into the 10,000 square foot former furniture store.

"When I was asked to become director of the museum, my goal was to move the museum to a larger building," Williams said. "Thanks to some very special friends and their help, that goal will soon be a reality."

The move will allow the museum to house many more items. Visitors to the current site are likely aware of the museum's cramped conditions, with items essentially covering ever noon and cranny. At its new site, the museum will be able to rotate items and feature displays, as well as house larger items.

The historic Main Street buildings require a great deal of work in order for the museum to operate at the new site. Each of the buildings need a new roof, in addition to complete rewiring, new handicap-accessible restrooms, painting and other general maintenance.

Through the assistance of Mayor David Freeman and the Rector City Council, Williams and the Museum Board have applied for a General Improvement Fund grant to help cover the expenses of some of the necessary work at the sites. Still, funding to assist the project is required, as the museum is a non-profit entity.

"We need volunteers to help support the museum," Williams said.

Any individuals or organizations interested in helping the Rector Community Museum through donations are encouraged to see museum vice-president Joey Pruett at Glen Sain in Rector or by mailing donations to Rector Community Museum, Inc., PO Box 313, Rector AR 72461 or Jane Holifield, museum treasurer, 903 W. 7th Street, Rector AR 72461.

Volunteers also are being sought to assist in clearing out carpet and other items remaining in the Main Street buildings, in addition to general maintenance work. Salvaged carpet and other items from the buildings will be made available for sale at what Williams calls "bargain prices." Persons interested in volunteering or purchasing items may contact Williams at (870) 595-4033.

Williams wishes to extend special thanks to Mary McCluney Crews and Anita Underwood for their assistance in acquiring the historic buildings for the project. He also extends thanks to Mayor Freeman and Kim Romine for their efforts in completing the GIF grants, as well as the Rector merchants who wrote letters of support for the grant. Additional thanks are given to the Rector Community Museum, Inc. Board; Rector Downtown Central, Inc. Board; Rector City Council and city attorney Kimberley Dale for assisting the museum in attaining its 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation status.

Members of the Rector Community Museum Board are: Williams, president; Pruett, vice-president; Barbara Vangilder, secretary; Jane Holiefield, treasurer; Glenna Bookout; Bill Rabjohn; Terry Robertson; Donald Gibbs and Ethel Cox Stafford.

Museum volunteers include: Peggy Ingram, Leland Blackshare, Linda Greenway, Dortha Webb, Pat Martin, Bill Rabjohn, Donald Gibbs, Brenda Mills, Rena Snow, Rita Dortch, Jane Holifield, Terry Robertson and Lynn Bookout.

More information regarding the museum may be found at

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  • I guess downtown Rector will have one viable entity it is ironic that it is a museum.

    -- Posted by JCfromMounds on Thu, Jul 10, 2014, at 1:07 PM
  • I think this is wonderful news and kudos to all involved in this venture! The museum has needed expansion for a long time and moving it into the old Underwood furniture store space will give it needed space, plus, help boost up downtown Rector. This is such positive news...

    -- Posted by southernsongbird on Thu, Jul 10, 2014, at 1:17 PM
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