The Dorcheat Museum received a huge financial boost Monday when gala attendees opened their pocketbooks to keep the local dream alive.
Since the museum opened in 2008, there have been three fund-raising events.
"This fund-raiser was a huge success, raising well over $25,000," according to Becky Marvin and Janice Mourad, board members and gala event organizers.
More than 150 guests were in attendance for an event that included a silent auction, music by Pat Gladney and a first-time viewing of artist Larry Milford's work on the new military exhibits located in the Media/Learning Center & Theater room.
"I think people were thrilled with the variety of silent auction items and the great variety of foods, said museum director Schelley Brown Francis. "We are so fortunate to have the support of so many people from far and wide."
Brown said auction items were sent from a three-state region.
"We are pleased with our progress, and we know we couldn't do any of it without so many generous friends and supporters of the museum," she said.
Bed & Breakfast reservations, paintings, large garden pottery arrangement, iron artwork, photography gift certificates and catering services were just a few of the more than 100 items.
"The silent auction was a big hit with the crowd bringing in more than $21,000 for the evening on the auction alone," Francis said. "The members of the museum board would like to thank all of the local merchants for their generosity in helping us put all of this together."
Francis said the item that had everyone's attention was an original painting by folk artist, Cora Lou Robinson.
"Last year, Robinson's painting of a birthday party at the Minden Community House was the number one item for the event," Francis said. "The 2011 painting depicted the 1941 Military Maneuvers that came thru Minden."
Robinson's memory of this event was captured on canvas. "It was wonderful to be a child in the 1940s, especially in Minden," Robinson said. "Even though a world war was going on, we all felt safe here. Nothing today can compare to the life we had.
"We created our own entertainment, and though we had no TVs, Wiis, or iPods, no one could ever have had a better time than we did," she continued.
Robinson said she was six years old when the troops of the Louisiana War Games, or maneuvers, came through Minden. A convoy more than 50 miles long went through Minden on Highway 80, passing through downtown.
"I was watching the soldiers throw addresses to girls along the parade route, and I couldn't imagine why they didn't throw me one," she said. "I will never forget that day and how proud everyone was of our soldiers and how patriotic all Americans were. I am so proud to be an American."
Francis said that once again Robinson's painting was the top fund-raising item for the evening.
High bidder, Ann Harlan, is now the proud owner of this Cora Lou original. Harlan is a long-time collector of Robinson's art and said she was "thrilled" to be the high bidder for the evening.
According to Francis, many first-time guests were amazed at the quality and beauty of the three-year-old museum.
"You really have something to be proud of," one guest told her.
The museum, a showplace for the area, has received notice from the Shreveport area on local TV stations, magazines and newspapers.
Francis said during the summer, more than 400 people passed through the doors of the museum for private tours during the Summer Pioneer Program.
With the Media/Theater room opened, the museum has an extra advantage of being able to offer this facility to others.
"We can now rent this part of the museum out for meetings, reunions and parties, plus we have the added benefit of the theater system for Power Point or video presentations," Francis said.
For more information on the Dorcheat Museum call 377-3002 or visit at 116 Pearl Street.
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