The Beauregard Museum is embarking on a new direction

The city of DeRidder is embarking on a new direction with its Beauregard Museum and Mayor Ron Roberts hopes that it will not only bring in more visitors to the museum, but also educate the next generation on the town’s heritage.

Located inside the historic train depot on Washington Street, the museum itself has become a known fixture as the home of the Lois Loftin doll collection and DeRidder artifacts. While a few new items have been brought in and put on display over the years, Roberts said he wants to bring new life to the museum’s exhibits.

“We’re going to begin rotating the museum’s items so that we can bring in new displays and exhibits,” Roberts stated.

“With the museum the way it has been, even though it has some really wonderful pieces to admire, people tend to feel that if you’ve seen it once then that’s enough. By rotating our exhibits, it’s my hope that the community will be more encouraged to stop by  continuously and see what we have on display throughout the year and onward.”

Roberts said that the first planned exhibit for the museum will focus on historical photographs from throughout the area that newly appointed museum administrator Elona Weston has been working to log and identify. That exhibit is expected to be on display beginning in October, according to Roberts, and will then make its way to the Beauregard Parish library and other locations.

“Ultimately, what I would like to do is bring this exhibit to our schools,” Roberts stated. “I think that as we continuously have new classes of students making their way towards graduation, it would be interesting for them to see the history of the town they live in.”

The museum plans do not stop there; after the first exhibit has been moved out others are already planned to take its place. Roberts said one of those exhibits would feature Governor Sam Jones, who grew up in DeRidder.

Other exhibits being considered include the double hanging at the historic Gothic Jail, and an exhibit detailing the Grabow Riot.

Weston is currently building the historic photograph exhibit, and encourages anyone who has photographs they would like to add to the collection to stop by. Weston stated that any photographs brought to the museum would be carefully scanned and copied so that the original could be returned to its owner.