After spending the last few months retooling behind closed doors, Heritage Alliance of McMinnville - Warren County proudly flung open those doors during a grand reopening celebration for the Heritage Alliance Museum Saturday night.
Heritage Alliance President Cody Prince and the rest of the board eagerly welcomed the community to see new and updated exhibits and also offered pictures with Santa Claus. One of the highlights was the reveal of a new holiday window display.
Heritage Alliance Vice-President Melody Crim explained the reasoning behind the display. "We decided to dedicate this window to the people of Warren County who have lost someone and are missing someone this Christmas. It's just a simple window and we encourage anyone who would like to come in and write the name of a loved one they're missing or they can even write a message to them and we'll gladly put in the window and make it part of the display, which will remain up through the end of the year," Crim said.
Another highlight of the reopening celebration was a Civil War sword on loan to the museum for one night only. Prince explained, "This sword belonged to Col. John Houston Savage, a life-long McMinnville resident. His law office still stands on Court Square. He was the one that erected the monument to the 16th Tennessee in front of the Court House. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery. This sword was handed down through his family and it now belongs to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They loaned the sword to us tonight for the grand reopening."
An exciting addition to the museum is a Warren County gift store. "We have a gift shop now with Warren County items, and it's not just McMinnville. We're also featuring Dibrell, Viola, Morrison, Centertown, Irving College - all the other towns in Warren County that seem to get overlooked when it comes to merchandise," Crim said.
Currently the museum has limited hours but the board is hoping to expand the schedule in the future. "Right now we're still only four members and we are looking for membership. We'd really love to welcome some new board members and sponsors to this organization. Until we really get up and going, we're just going to have to do what we can with the schedule," Crim said. The museum will be open from 3 - 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 for Small Business Saturday and the Flip the Switch tree lighting downtown that day at 4 p.m. During December, the museum will open Dec. 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 16 and 17.
Dec. 31 will be a special night, as the museum is hosting a Putting on the Glitz fund raiser from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Kimmi's on the Green at McMinnville Country Club. Tickets are $60 per person until Dec. 4, and $75 per person after that date. The event is a 1920s-themed New Year's Eve party. Proceeds will benefit the museum and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. More information can be found on the Heritage Alliance of McMinnville - Warren County Facebook page or at (931) 703-1879.