Assistant director of Vaughan-Smitherman has deep roots in Selma soil

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

“It’s like my second home,” said Joyce Smith, an assistant director of the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum.

“It is peaceful, it is beautiful, and when we have events it seems to sparkle,” she added.

The museum, whose hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment, is also open for special events such as weddings.

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While some months there are no events, Smith said, the average over a year’s time is two to three a month.

Smith has some deep roots in Selma. Her parents, Frank and Lena Mason, both deceased along with one of her two brothers, grew up here and moved to Detroit where her father worked for the railroad.

Her parents moved back to Selma to the family home when they retired, and Smith came later to live in the home that had belonged to her parents.

Smith has had many jobs over the years, including banking, retail and communications.

She admits that she could never have imagined working in the Vaughan-Smitherman but is happy with how things have worked out.

She appreciates her boss – Kay Jones, facility/contract manager for the City of Selma – and her other co-workers, including Barbara Hicks, also an assistant director; Thomas Watson, inside custodian; and Donald Barker, outside custodian.

Smith says her duties vary and include doing tours for visitors, scheduling special events and relating to the Friends of Vaughan, a group headed by Annie Laurie Williams, that has added much in the way of furnishings and dcor to the historic building

– inside and out – over the years. Most recently the group

raised the funds to erect the new wrought iron fence around the property.

Smith says that several hundred tourists go through the museum each year, along with the special events and groups that hold regular meetings in the facility that is more than 150 years old.

When she’s not on the job, Smith is traveling, going to the library weekly and checking out books she loves to read, attending First Presbyterian Church where she sings in the choir, pursuing an avid interest in jazz, attending live theatre performances and movies, and tending to her dogs Missy and Shirley.

“They’ve got the best life available,” she said. “I take care of them.”