Grand Opening Held for Rector Museum

Thursday, May 2, 2019
Joined by state and local officials, board members, patrons and members of the public, director Joey Pruett had the honor of cutting the ribbon for the grand opening of the Rector Community Museum on Saturday. The ribbon cutting was part of a full weekend of events and activities at the museum, which is located in the historic Underwood building on Main Street in Rector.
TD photo/Tim Blair

A grand, grand opening it was for the Rector Community Museum this past weekend. Beginning with a performance by popular vocalist Chrissy Pazanowski on Thursday evening, attendees caught a glimpse of what the museum board has been working on as they prepared to swing-wide the front doors, and open to the general public. And, that is exactly what they did just before 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 27.

Saturday morning’s ribbon cutting at the RCM was well-attended by appreciative visitors, many whom have watched with interest and support as the project has evolved into a showplace. Rector Mayor Teresa Roofe, Chamber of Commerce President Ron Kemp and wife Nancy, City Council members Lark Sigsby and David Romine along with their spouses Steven Sigsby and Kim Romine attended. Over 50 guests had signed the guest register by noon on Saturday.

Todd Ford seemed to enjoy sharing several yearbooks with his children, Max and Ellie., noting “yep, that’s me!” They were amazed at the displays, especially the key Jabbo Edwards took as he was liberated from a Japanese prison camp.

Several younger guests asked questions about the Rector traffic light on display and the vintage telephones. “Did Rector really have a traffic light? Where was it?” They needed a demonstration on how those telephones worked, especially the rotary dial phones. “Put your finger in that little space and pull it all the way around and release.” It seemed to take forever” to dial his mother’s phone number.

“I’m glad I don’t have to go to Dr. Jernigan with that dentist stuff. Look at that shot needle,” remarked one younger guest. Friends through the years, many guests put their heads together to identify locations and ladies and gentlemen in vintage photographs. Several folks peered into the cabinet model radio-record players on display to see if the 78’s were really spinning Glenn Miller tunes.

Refreshments were served at the rear of the museum where the kitchen is located and as visitors rounded the corner of an extensive military display, they enjoyed do-nuts, cookies, no-bake chocolate goodies, coffee, water and coolers of tea compliments of Rector Sonic Drive-in.

Joel Boyd’s art classes at RHS displayed their work for the grade seven through 12 art show. Many different techniques were on display and the people who visited specifically to see the art got a double treat.

Thursday evening prior to Saturday’s event, another appreciative group enjoyed Pazanowski’s selections which were an eclectic blend of Bonnie Raitt, Michael Buble, the Eagles and Martina McBride. She opened her set with Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About, encouraging the audience to look around the corner for either Julia Roberts or Dennis Quaid who starred in the movie by the same name. Leann Rimes’ Blue and Buble’s Rat-Pack, blues-jazz sound for Dream a Little Dream of Me, made popular by Mama Cass, added pizzaz to the evening. She concluded her sets with Judy Garland’s signature song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, performed in its traditional style.

The museum closed ending the weekend's festivities at 4 p.m. on Sunday, after a tremendous official opening. The staff also noted the museum hopes to expand operating hours during the summer months, and their working to become a stop on the Arkansas Tourist museum trail website.

Joey Pruett, museum board chairman, expressed appreciation for the attendance and support in welcoming those in attendance He also introduced Angela Ryland and her family of Cotton Plant. Ryland is Northeast Arkansas Museum director and has previously visited the local museum, offering words of encouragement to the board with her enthusiasm and informative suggestions for grants.

“Each time I come in, there’s something new, some new display,” was echoed by many of the visitors. “You all have worked so hard and we are so proud of the Rector Community Museum.”

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