Oren Dunn City Museum
The Oren Dunn City Museum keeps the history of the city of Tupelo alive through exhibits and artifact displays, educating visitors about the past and its connection to the present. The museum is housed in a converted dairy barn that was historically part of Forest Lake Farms. The museum site also houses several historic buildings and pieces of machinery, allowing visitors to witness Tupelo's history and growth since the city's founding. Located in Ballard Park, the museum was created by Oren Dunn and opened as the Tupelo City Museum in 1984. After the death of Oren Dunn, the museum was renamed to honor him and his efforts to establish the museum.
Backstory and Context
Oren Dunn continued to work at the museum throughout his life, helping it grow and expand. When Dunn passed away in December 1996, the Tupelo City museum was renamed the Oren Dunn Museum of Tupelo in honor of his contributions to the museum. The name of the museum was later changed again to the Oren Dunn City Museum, the name the site holds today. The museum is located in Ballard Park and is closely related to the Tupelo Veterans Museum.
The museum is housed in a converted dairy barn that was once a part of Forest Lake Farm, historically owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rex Reed. Through the years, the museum has grown to include a traditional village with a dogtrot cabin from the 1870s, a one-room school, and a one-room church. A replica train depot and Frisco Caboose are also on site, along with 1940s fire trucks and the Bookmobile used by the Lee county library system in 1949. All of these are important pieces of Tupelo's history that demonstrate its growth from the time of its establishment into present day society. Allowing visitors to experience the history of Tupelo gives them the ability to draw connections between the past and the present, keeping the history of the area alive in meaningful ways.
Alongside its historical buildings and machinery, the museum also displays many exhibits that pertain to the region's various influences and historical events. Some of these exhibits include tornado history, Chickasaw tribe history, pioneer history, northeast Mississippi fossils, Tupelo agriculture and industry, and a model of the 1940s railroad. With a goal of displaying the region's history for future generations to enjoy, the Oren Dunn City Museum keeps the dreams of Oren Dunn alive, educating visitors of all ages about the creation of Tupelo and its many advancements through the years.
2. Oren Dunn City Museum. Tupelo. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.tupelo.net/vendor/oren-dunn-city-museum/.
3. Oren Dunn City Museum. Scenic Trace. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.scenictrace.com/oren-dunn-city-museum/.