Museum fundraiser to focus on design

Donna Summerall
Staff Writer

The Black Prairie Blues Museum is one step closer to becoming a showplace for the history of America's music. Deborah Mansfield is working with Museum Arts of Dallas, Texas, for the next phase of the museum.
"I worked with them before on the Bryan Museum in Galveston," Mansfield said. "So I've seen what they can do. And the owner of the Bryan Museum highly recommends them for this type of creative work."
"A Night at the Museum" is the theme of the Wednesday, Oct. 23, fundraiser to continue the renovations on the building on Commerce Street. Tickets are $150 each and there are only 100 available. That is all the people the building can have in it at this time.

"This will be a fun evening," Mansfield said. "There will be a silent auction, heavy hors d'oeuvres and adult beverages. We have some ideas in the works that have not been finalized yet."
Museum Arts is creating a presentation of how the museum will look when it is finished. It will be shown during the fundraiser.
"This will be to wet everyone's appetite for how the museum will look when it is finished." Mansfield said. "I told them I want it to be completely different from any of the other museums in Clarkdale and in the Delta. It will be uniquely West Point."

Mansfield explained to Robert Hamilton of Museum Arts, via video conference, about her vision for the space.
"I have the sketches you sent us," Hamilton said. "It gives us a good idea of what you want but we wanted to go over them with you."
She told him there is a small room that she would like to see recreated as Chester Burnette's aunt's living room.
"He spent time there when he was growing up," Mansfield said. "That was where he stayed when he came back home to West Point. We have a few photos to use as a guide."
They looked over a sketch of the Roxie, a Juke Joint where Howlin' Wolf often performed.

"I want Juke Joint images," Mansfield said. "My idea is that it doesn't look like a museum with exhibits on display. I would also like to be able to use it as a music venue. But these are just my ideas, please feel free to expand on them."
According to Hamilton, there would be different venues throughout the museum, pertaining to the Black Prairie Blues but all coming back to West Point's native son, Chester "Howlin' Wolf' Burnette.

"Museum Arts is doing this free upfront," Mansfield said. "So we can get the fundraiser off the ground. There will be more in the future. But this is where we start."
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 275-7819.