The tag sale at the historic Bibb House last week was a big success.
The sale raised approximately $42,000 for the trust which is in charge of the historic home that is in the process of undergoing a change into an educational museum.
“That will certainly go a long way toward the improvements we want to make the the house,” said Joe Gran Clark, who is on the board which is in charge of the Bibb House. “The sale went about as well as we could have hoped for.”
Hundreds of people came out and looked at the various sale items, which included a wide variety of furniture, china, glassware, art, lighting fixtures, garden ornaments and collectibles.
“It was really well attended,” Clark said. “There were a lot of local people that came out and people from the surrounding communities as well. We had a large variety of shoppers.”
The tag sale was conducted by James Christian and Associates of Springfield, Tenn.
“They really did a good job,” Clark said. “They did a lot of work researching the items they were selling.”
The money will be used to help make some needed repairs to the structure. Additional funds have been secured through a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The funding will provide for repairs to the structure, modifications for handicap accessibility and development of museum exhibits.
“We’re going to start the foundation and roof repairs in the next month or so,” Clark said. “I estimate that repair period will last about six months. We’ll try to also work on our museum development during that time. We’re also going to be doing some additional fundraising and we have some other grant applications pending, so we will want to see what exactly we have to work with.”
There is no set timetable for when the Bibb House will reopen as an educational museum.
“In the past it’s been set up as a house museum where people can walk through and get glimpses of interior settings from different time periods,” Clark said. “We are changing the purpose and focus of the Bibb House to turn it into an educational museum to address the historical events that happened there and the social issues that they impacted.”
Revolutionary War Major Richard Bibb freed 29 of his slaves in 1829 and he freed the remaining 52 slaves at his death in 1839. Bibb’s home was donated to the public by Miss Agnes Davis, a pioneer in the struggle for women’s rights who found success as an early businesswoman running the VC fertilizer company.
The renovated museum will tell the story of the emancipations that occurred at this site and the ongoing struggles for civil rights. The museum will be available for school tours and exhibits will include audio-visual interactive components along with traditional fixed displays. Pre and post tour curriculum activities will be offered via an upgraded website and the the Saddle Factory Museum and the West Kentucky African American Heritage Center will also be available for educational tours.
“This is one of the few places in the nation that is publicly owned and where there were large numb of emancipations that took place,” Clark said. “We feel feel a duty to teach that history.”
The primary advisers for this project are Dr. Ann Butler, chair of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans at Kentucky State University and John Egerton, noted southern historian and author.
The museum has worked with curators of Nashville’s Belmont Mansion and the Shaker Museum at South Union to identify the historically significant items in the house that will be retained for the educational activities.
The project is also looking for local volunteers.
Clark said that anyone with an interest in helping out with the new Bibb House museum can help out by calling him at 726-2085.