Seafood museum to open new digs Saturday

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina destroyed its original structure, will re-open this weekend at Point Cadet, the gateway to Biloxi.

Factory whistles will blow at 9 a.m. Saturday to signal the re-opening of the museum, just as back in the day when the factories would call their people to work by blowing their individual factory whistle. The museum will open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, with no admission fee.

The museum, which was constructed with $8.98 million in federal, state and city funds, is on the easternmost tip of the Biloxi peninsula, adjacent to the city’s Point Cadet Plaza, which was dedicated just last weekend. The entire 5.5-acre Point Cadet site north of the Biloxi Bay Bridge greets visitors entering Biloxi from the east and represents a nearly $14 million investment in public funds.

The re-opening of the seafood museum on Saturday will feature historical character re-enactments, including the Hermit of Deer Island, the Wreck of The Emma Harvey, the Founding Fathers of Biloxi’s Seafood Industry and more.

There will also be free oyster shell painting for children, light refreshments and all visitors are invited to register to win one of the new framed Biloxi Schooner prints.

The museum was established in 1986 to preserve and interpret the maritime history and heritage of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It accomplishes this mission through exhibits, educational events, and hands-on activities both outdoors and on the water.

An array of  galleries, exhibits  and artifacts cover many topics: wooden boat building, catboats/schooners, shrimping, oystering, recreational fishing, the Joe Moran Art Gallery, environment/wetlands, charter boats, marine blacksmithing, the barrier islands, and a priceless collection of  historic photographs.

One of the main features will be the “Nydia,” a gaff-rigged cabin sloop built in Biloxi in 1898. It will be displayed in the Grand Hall with mast stepped and sails raised. Also featured is a timeline that covers from the first Indian settlements through current maritime history, which in all, tells the tale of over 300 years of history, culture, and heritage.

The museum has promoted local maritime history and heritage by replicating two 65-foot, double‐masted Biloxi Schooners – the Glenn L. Swetman and the Mike Sekul. Examples of living maritime history, the schooners sail the Mississippi Sound and waters of the north central Gulf of Mexico almost daily.

The museum also conducts year round educational programs and a summer Sea‐n‐Sail Adventure Camp, which teaches youth about local maritime heritage. Living maritime history is celebrated through summer adventure camps, festivals, wooden boat shows, and walk-on or charter schooner sailing, which is open to the public from the Museum’s Schooner Pier Complex.

The museum was designed by Daria Pizzetta with H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, New York.  Pizzetta was born and raised on Point Cadet in Biloxi, and she is very familiar with the seafood and maritime history of the area.
Visit the museum’s website


Development report: Shopping center, Arbor Landing 

This column was unavailable last week.

By Jerry Creel, Community Development Director

This week in economic development comes an announcement about a 70.4 acre shopping center proposed for the southeast corner of Shriners Boulevard and Woolmarket Road. Although we have not received site plans for the development, a Wetlands Impact Application has been filed with the Army Corp of Engineers. We will release additional information as it becomes available. Also this week, we are completing the building plans review for the Arbor Landing Apartments to be located on the north side of Popp’s Ferry Road next to Lauren Falls Subdivision. This 218 unit complex should obtain building permits and begin construction within the next 30 days.

The White House Hotel is scheduled to open on Friday August 1 to a very excited crowd. The demolition of the old Margaritaville structure on the south side of Beach Boulevard is complete and the contractor is removing the remaining rubble from the Harrah’s site.  With the announcement of the closing of the Margaritaville Casino,  we are continuing to work with the Mississippi Development Authority for the grant funding to extend Bay View Boulevard to 5th Street. The expansion planned for Biloxi Boardwalk Resort should more than meet the minimum eligibility requirement for the economic development necessary to qualify for the grant.


News and notes

Late registration: If you missed registration at Biloxi Public Schools last week, you still have time to register and still have your child attend the first day of school. Register from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school your child will attend. Those who register after July 31 will not be able to attend class until Monday, Aug. 11. To read more, click here.

Plaza dedication: To see four-dozen photos from the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Point Cadet Plaza on Saturday, click here.

MGM Park site: To see photos from today of the site of the downtown baseball stadium and entertainment venue, click here.