Photo by Freddie Herpin
The reopening of the Opelousas Museum Dec. 28 represents an exciting venture for newly-appointed director Patrice Melnick, who told city officials recently that she understands the value of the exhibits she oversees and the challenges that have been encountered preparing the building for public viewing.
Melnick, a longtime city employee, has been working since August to catalog and assess the museum displays since the building was closed due to city COVID protocols.
Part of her work over the past couple of months Melnick told the Opelousas Board of Aldermen last week, has involved assessing the overall quality of the items that have been in the museum as well as their importance.
“What I have been doing includes documenting each of the items as well as protecting them from the elements,” Melnick said.
At this point Melnick has concluded the museum which previously served as a funeral parlor, city library and private businesses, will need improved climate control in order to regulate the temperature and humidity levels.
In addition Melnick pointed out she has also been active in seeking and writing historic preservation grants.
“Right now (the city) has applied for six grants, three of which have been approved. Another one that I submitted was declined while the others are pending,” said Melnick.
Melnick also told the aldermen the museum is coordinating several 2022 events that include a Feb. 17 St. Landry Parish African-American farmers celebration, an all-day affair that includes artifacts and products normally featured at the Farmer’s Market between Vine Street and U.S. 190 on the eastern end of the city.
In May there is a planned student art event, while in June, the museum will coordinate a writing project that features poetry, Melnick pointed out.
The operation of the museum will also feature a Board of Directors that Melnick said will eventually be appointed.
At this point Melnick said once the opening is established, the operating hours for the museum will be 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Monday thru Thursday and on Friday (8 a.m. until 11 a.m.).