The Saline Courier Weekend

Saline County Library takes Gann under its umbrella

- By Elisha Morrison elisham@bentoncour­

The next chapter in the Gann Museum’s long history in the community will include joining the Saline County Library organizati­on.

“It is a really important piece of history in Saline County,” said Library Manager Leigh Espey.

The library is returning to its own history with the acquisitio­n. The Gann building was given to be the library’s location in 1946. At that time, the library was in the back half of the building, which is now the Williams Gallery. It was housed in the building until it outgrew the space.

“It is great. It is so fun to tie it all together,” Espey said.

The transition happened earlier this month.

The City of Benton approved the library to lease the Gann at a City Council meeting in November.

The library has worked with the Gann’s now former director Lindsay Jordan to make the transition.

Jordan had been with the museum since it reopened in 2017.

“Having always been interested in history and being a sixth-generation Benton and Saline County resident, I was thrilled when (her husband) gave (Dorcas Holicer, then president of the Gann Museum of Saline County) my name. After a meeting with the board, I was offered the position of executive director whose duties I have been honored to carry out these past several years,” Jordan said.

She is proud of the history the Gann has to offer from the original plat of Benton -- drawn on silk in 1836 -- to the weapon used in the murder that led to the only legal execution in the county.

“While my time with the museum has come to an end and I step into my role with the local travel blog, Arkie Travels, I’m excited about what the future has in store for the museum now that the Saline County Library has taken over,” Jordan said.

“My departure is bitterswee­t, but I look forward to visiting the museum for many years to come.”

Cody Lynn Berry is the special collection­s assistant who will be over the Gann. He worked as a staff member with Jordan.

Berry, who has long worked to document Arkansas history, said the Library taking over the Gann makes “perfect sense” because it once housed the library.

Espey said the Gann has an extensive collection. They plan to close down the gallery so they can pull all the items from storage and digitize them to make them available to view online. The historic

office section of the

Gann will remain open to the public.

Espey said Berry has several ideas for future displays once the gallery reopens.

This year will mark

130 years since the Gann was built. It is the only known building made from Bauxite. Espey said the library is working on plans to celebrate the anniversar­y.

“We are really excited,” she said.

There are also plans in the works to display some items at the library.

The permanent exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Friday.

“We are doing this so we can keep this part of Saline County history alive for everyone to enjoy,” Espey said.

 ?? Elisha Morrison/ the saline courier ?? The Gann Museum is now under the umbrella of the Saline County Library as it heads into its 130th year in the community.
Elisha Morrison/ the saline courier The Gann Museum is now under the umbrella of the Saline County Library as it heads into its 130th year in the community.

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