Grizzard Museum collection relocated to Moreland Mill

By W. WINSTON SKINNER winston@newnan.com The collection of the Lewis Grizzard Memorial Museum has been moved to the Moreland Mill, where it will be incorporated into a growing collection of Grizzard memorabilia. Carol Chancey, who works with the town and the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance in promoting tourism in Moreland, was busy Monday morning sorting, moving and arranging items moved during the weekend from the old service station that has served a museum honoring Grizzard's memory for years.
The Lewis Grizzard Memorial Museum Trust was formed by the Moreland Town Council soon after the death of Grizzard, a journalist and humorist, in 1994. Two members of the trust, Danny Thompson and Dudley Stamps, stopped by the old museum on Saturday as the collection was moved from the old site to the new one. Stamps and his wife, Elaine, transported a large painting of Grizzard in their pickup. Dudley Stamps, a close friend of Grizzard who was legendary in some of Grizzard's columns, told Chancey he would come back to tell her about the origin and significance of the items in the collection. Thompson was also a friend of Grizzard dating to their elementary school days in Moreland. The Moreland Mill, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, began as a general store and expanded into a complex that was a hosiery mill providing employment for many area residents for decades. The building now belongs to the Town of Moreland and houses town offices, public meeting areas, incubator space for a coffee shop and the Old Mill Museum, which houses artifacts from Moreland's history from its founding through World War II. Space in the Old Mill Museum has been set aside for the beginning of a Grizzard exhibit. Across the town square is a white frame structure that was the birthplace of another Georgia writer, Erskine Caldwell. The Erskine Caldwell Birthplace and Museum's collection includes hundreds of books in more than a dozen languages, items that belonged to Caldwell and his family and furnishings typical of a rural Coweta home at the turn of the last century. Chancey said Sam M. Welborn, the Columbus resident who represents the Third Congressional District on the Georgia Department of Transportation board, will be visiting Moreland on Wednesday. Chancey said she is working to get an expanded Grizzard exhibit in place for his visit. The exhibit then will be open as part of the museum experience for visitors who come to the mill during regular hours Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The new items "will be something they can enjoy" in addition to the current Grizzard collection, the Old Mill collection and the Caldwell home, Chancey said. Having the museums "all nested together" means visitors can spend an afternoon soaking in the authentic experience of Moreland and its writers "without getting back in your car." Chancey noted that the Lewis Grizzard Memorial Museum collection and the new exhibit have both benefited from the generosity of "all of the people who love Lewis and his friends and family." Several people have offered additional items that belonged to Grizzard which will -- in the future -- offer visitors even more in "the new collection in an expanded way," she said. The Town of Moreland has hired an engineer to study the upper floor of the mill with an eye toward expanding the museum space. There will be room "for more Grizzard (displays) on the upper floor," Chancey said. Chancey reflected on the enduring popularity of Grizzard. His best remembered writings were "often based on his life in a small town," she said. Chancey said that universal experience is one that visitors will enjoy as they visit his hometown and see his story unfold as the mill's exhibit expands.


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