OCHLOCKNEE — Pope’s Store Museum will host a drive-through tour of one of the museum’s main attractions starting early next month, sponsored in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts.
The tour, which will begin Friday, May 1, will highlight the recently-restored World War II memorial wall on the north side of the property. The wall features busts of prominent national heroes including generals Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur, and a commemoration of the Allied invasion of Normandy.
“It’s for people that are still under quarantine but want to drive in their car,” said museum executive director Michelle Dean. “It’s for families that have cabin fever.”
A months-long effort to restore the aging wall is nearing completion, and next month’s tour will highlight the new improvements — all without visitors ever having to exit their vehicles.
Visitors will remain in their cars as Dean presents the many different characters who appear on the 100-foot wall, which was constructed in 1947 by museum namesake Laura Pope Forester. Visitors also can follow along with the tour using a printable guide.
“We’re intentionally making it so that they can go and do it on their own time,” Dean said.
The tour will continue to be offered through at least July.
Tour details will be available at popesmuseumfarm.com and on the Pope’s Museum Facebook page.
Accompanying the launch of the tour will be an updated look to the museum’s website and a video highlighting how Forester used her art to make a statement on the value of women in American society.
“This was a time when often women felt their opportunities were limited to domestic life,” Dean said. “Laura used her artwork, especially the eastern portion of the wall, to demonstrate that women’s impact in World War II was vital to the success of the war.”
Dean said she’s been in constant contact with GCA to try to salvage the $2,700 grant she received to host an outdoor performance of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with help from the Tallahassee Shakespeare Troupe and the Thomasville Entertainment Foundation. The performance had been scheduled to take place April 18, but was canceled due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
The Vibrant Communities Grant Dean received required her to support an art project such as an art exhibit, a theater production or an artist residency. With the coronavirus pandemic throwing her plans into disarray, Dean had to find a way to restructure the grant or the money would be lost.
GCA approved Dean’s revised concept to instead use the grant money to host the tour and create the video.
Donations from the community intended to help the Shakespeare event become a reality will be put on hold until the production can take place.
“The donations are being kept in the bank and the grant money is being spent on the film and the promotion and the wall,” Dean said.
Dean said her biggest goal was letting the community know that Pope’s Museum is a valuable asset for Grady County.
“Sometimes families just need to take a 30-minute window from being stuck in their house, but it’s not like they can go to the mall,” Dean said. “I was thinking about how we can make this a win for the community and for Pope’s Museum and still abide by the grant’s stipulations.”