Desoto County News

Museum honors former board member, unveils new film

The Historic DeSoto Foundation, which operates the DeSoto County Museum in Hernando, held its annual meeting Thursday evening but the filled Iglesia Gracia Internacional Church adjacent to the Commerce Street museum location were likely not there to conduct business.  

The attraction was the premiere of a short film, written and directed by Museum Curator Robert Long, titled “Voices of Our History,” that featured local actors portraying moments in county history, from the Civil War to the rise of the late Jerry Lee Lewis. 

The film tells stories of DeSoto County residents in a short film format and the finished production will be shown on television screens inside the museum to bring exhibits alive.  

TJ Cates and TJ Cates Productions produced the project, which was made possible through a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council..  

But, that was not the only item from the Thursday evening gathering, celebrating the 20th anniversary for the museum. A nominating committee, that included Barry Bouchillon, Keith Hawkins, and Harvey Ferguson, presented the list of board members for the 2023-24 term that included Rebecca Thompson, Edith Robinson, Stephanie Strohm, Jonathan Hooker, and Leslie McLemore. They were approved on a voice vote of those attending the meeting.  

Another moment in the evening came with the presentation of the Museum’s Legacy Award to the family of the late Lynda Austin, a former mayor of Walls who was also part of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. 

“Lynda was always asking, ‘What can I do?’” Long said about Austin. “Lynda was all about this community. Her energy, vitality, and her love for this community made Lynda a giant.”  

Long also recognized the volunteers who offer their time to support the museum.  

Museum Curator Robert Long presents the museum’s Legacy Award to the family of the late Lynda Austin, former board member who passed away in 2022.
(Bob Bakken/
DeSoto County Museum Curator Robert Long (center) with volunteers who were recognized during Thursday’s annual meeting.
(Bob Bakken/

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