Beth Spivey is the new face for the Old Depot Museum as the museum’s new director. --Ashley Johnson
Beth Spivey is the new face for the Old Depot Museum as the museum’s new director. -- Ashley Johnson

Spivey has big plans for Depot Museum

Published 8:35pm Saturday, April 20, 2013

If you notice some ceiling tiles missing in the lobby of Old Depot Museum on Water Avenue, it is because new museum director Beth Spivey has been trying to bust through the ceiling to new levels — in more ways than one.

She stepped in after long-time museum director Jean Martin left for medical reasons in early February and Spivey has since planned to archive every photo from the museum to online libraries, renovate the building structure to showcase its original architecture and strengthen ties between the museum and the community.

This means taking down rotted paneling to show exposed brick and ceiling tiles to show archways and the height of the Old Depot.

“I want it to still be the museum but I want it to look like the original depot,” Spivey said about her vision for the museum she has worked on each day to clean and organize. “I want it to be more organized and I don’t want it to be such a hands on museum. I want it to be where when people come through you don’t have to worry about them stealing something because everything will be in a case.”

She pointed to a leather hide sword case hand made by Geronimo himself — something she has now put behind a case but was once hung where all visitors could touch it.

A light green sweater worn by Martin Luther King is now prominently displayed where it was once hidden amongst other items.

“I just think that is so cool and everyone should be able to see it,” Spivey said about the sweater.

As for taking Martin’s place, who was passionate about each detail of the museum and was a community leader in Selma, Spivey said she will try and love the same stuff Martin loved and be just as passionate about history — something she said would not be difficult for her.

“I just love real things, I love history,” she said and walks over to several artifacts in the lobby. “Like that is really the desk that the governor sat behind and that is really the clock that in 1856 people came from this depot to go set their watches by because it was the most accurate clock in Selma.”

Spivey wants the museum to be a class act and invite more tourists to come and learn about Selma through exploring its history.

With her new vision for the organization of the museum as well as restoring the building to showcase the inner brick and archways, Spivey said she has lots of plans that she is enthusiastic about and wants to continue to work until the museum reaches new heights — and busts through new ceilings.

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