Wayland museum adding to its exhibits

Release Date: November 20, 2009

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University’s Museum of the Llano Estacado continues to add to its growing number of exhibits as well as enhancing existing exhibits in order to present a more visitor-friendly atmosphere.

Director Rodney Watson continues to work on his Hale County hall of fame exhibits, recently adding an interactive listening station to the exhibits. The equipment, funded by a donation from Jimmy and Donna Dean, allows visitors to listen to recordings of Dean, The Stringalongs and opera singer Terry Cook. The station also has a recording of Leah Kay Lyle-Gabriel’s performance at the Miss America pageant.

The audio upgrade is just the next step in what Watson hopes to accomplish at the museum. Along with memorabilia and audio recordings, Watson is collecting video of the exhibit subjects and will add a video station to the exhibits as well.

“The sound system really helps people make identifications with the exhibits,” Watson said. “Some people may not know who the Stringalongs are, but when they hear their popular ‘Wheels’ recording it brings back memories.”

Watson is consistently working on the exhibits, although progress at time seems slow. He is waiting on just a few more pieces in order to set up exhibits on Cook and a number of professional football players, including Bill Howton, Jerry Sisemore, Monte Lee, Lawrence McCutcheon and Arland Thompson.

“We’re in pretty good shape on those; it just seems like we haven’t done anything in a while,” Watson said.

Along with those exhibits, Watson is planning a number of other exhibits featuring prominent Hale County people including: Winifred Harrison, better known as Sunset Carson, boxer LaVern Roach, basketball coach Harley Redin, state legislator Pete Laney and his wife Nelda, Netscape founder Jim Clark and Jo-Carroll Dennison, Miss America 1942. Watson also plans an exhibit on sportscaster Emily Jones, but said he will complete that one last.

“The TV station in Lubbock said they would come up and do a story on it once it’s complete,” Watson said. “I want to make sure they get footage of the other completed exhibits in the background.”

Along with the addition of new exhibits, Watson has made changes to the existing exhibit hall. New lighting has been installed throughout the exhibit hall to brighten the display cases. Watson is also working on upgrading the lettering throughout the exhibits and painting and texturing the walls to give it a more updated feel.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9-4 p.m. on Friday. The museum will be closed on weekends starting Nov. 28 and running through March. It will open again on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. beginning in the spring. Admission is free.