You’ll see a number of firsts at this year’s Preservation in May

This year’s Preservation in May series will feature a number of firsts: A visit to Cedar Lake island, a visit from First Lady Deborah Bryant, and the opening of the state’s first school museum.

The five-week program, which takes place each Thursday in May, kicks off Thursday with a visit to Cedar Lake Island, which is nestled across from Cedar Lake United Methodist Church, and wraps up with a salute to Keesler Air Force Base, “as Biloxi as boiled shrimp and Barq’s,” on May 29 at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

During the month, those attending the free sessions will enjoy music at the Old Brick House, the opening of the state’s first school museum at Biloxi Public Schools, and an author storyteller debunking or amplifying folklore about the Gulf Coast and Magnolia State.

The award-winning month-long program is designed to celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of Biloxi and is conducted in observance of National Preservation Month. The project, marking its seventh year this year, is an undertaking of the City of Biloxi, Biloxi Bay Chamber, Biloxi Main Street, Biloxi Public Schools, and the Local History & Genealogy Department of the Biloxi Public Library.

“In keeping with tradition, we will distribute ‘Passports through History’ that will be stamped at each program,” said Bill Raymond, Biloxi Historic Administrator/Executive Planner. “Everyone with a passport who receives at least three stamps will receive a commemorative gift for their support of local preservation at the May 29th event.”

Added Raymond: “We look forward to organizing and hosting the Thursday programs each May and are always impressed with the community’s participation.  It’s an enjoyable way for us all to learn more about and to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Biloxi.”
This year’s lineup:
May 1, 2014, 5:30-7 p.m.
Discover the history and beauty of Cedar Lake Island
Cedar Lake Road at Old Highway 67
Once home to a thriving lumber mill in the days when timber was a major part of Biloxi’s economy, Cedar Lake Island, today it is a magnificent showcase of native plants and wildlife.  Join us for a hike in the woods to discover the history of the island and the lumber industry while learning about the flora and fauna of the area.  There will be historians, master naturalists and re-enactors present to guide you on your journey. Parking will be available at the Cedar Lake Methodist Church, 12332 Cedar Lake Road.  Participants will walk to the island.  Please note this is a natural environment that is not wheelchair accessible.  Long pants and walking shoes are recommended.  The event is co-sponsored by the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.
May 8, 2014, 5:30-7 p.m.
Music on the Bay
Old Brick House, 622 Bayview Ave.
The grounds of the Old Brick House will be filled with music as the Biloxi High Jazz Ensemble performs in this historic setting.  One of the oldest, if not the oldest, buildings in Biloxi, the Old Brick House is important as a glimpse into life in antebellum Biloxi. Tours of the 1830s era home will be offered.  The Nature Conservancy and the Gulf Coast Design Studio will be on hand to explain a living shoreline project currently underway. Refreshments will be served. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets.
May 15, 2014, 1-3 p.m.
Biloxi Public Schools Opens First School Museum
Dukate Building, 1445 Father Ryan Ave.
Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant will be on hand to cut the ribbon on the Biloxi Public School District Museum.  The school museum, the only one of its kind in the state, will showcase the diverse history of the school district through photographs, artifacts and memorabilia. The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. and refreshments will be provided by Chartwell.
May 22, 2014, 5:30-7 p.m.
Myths, Legends and Bald-Faced Lies at the Visitors Center
Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd.
Storyteller and author Diane Williams has traveled across the Magnolia State to gather local legends for her new book Mississippi Folk and the Tales They Tell.  She will have the audience rolling in the aisles as she shares stories and autographs books. A limited number of copies will be available in the Visitors Center Gift Shop.
May 29, 2014, 5:30-7 p.m.
Keesler, as Biloxi as Boiled Shrimp and Barq’s
Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd
Keesler Air Force Base and Biloxi are inseparably linked by geography and shared history. Come learn about this history at the opening of a new exhibit at the Biloxi Visitors Center.  The evening will feature a presentations on Keesler’s history along with personal recollections from some of the men and women who were stationed at the base and decided to make Biloxi and the Gulf Coast their home. Refreshments will be served.  The exhibit will only be on display for a limited time.
For more information
Contact the City of Biloxi Historic Preservation office, at the Biloxi Visitors Center, at (228) 374-3105 or