More information comes to museum

Published 8:18 pm Monday, March 22, 2010

Pilgrimage visitors didn’t have to ask as many questions about the painting of the Old King Memorial Hospital this past weekend.

Jo Hise, board member of the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum, placed a framed informational addition beneath the painting March 17, before visitors arrived.

Hise donated the painting in 2005, where it is displayed on the wall of the third floor of the museum. This level has been restored to show the relics of Selma’s medical care history.

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While on tours of the museum with Pilgrimage, “people were asking about the history,” Hise said.

After working with Pilgrimage for several years, Hise decided to research more about the Old King Memorial Hospital in hopes of adding that information to the display in the museum.

“People come from everywhere and are very interested in every facet of the history,” Hise said.

“What we’re interested in is telling the history of the building.”

Given to Hise by friend Ellen Dunn, the painting hung in the Dunn home prior to Hise offering it to the museum.

Dunn founded Dunn Nursing Home and gave contributions to the City of Selma that later created places such as Dunn Nursing Home and Park Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Hise and Dunn would talk of Selma’s history, and those discussions sparked Hise’s interest in learning more about Selma. She now has an active love of history.

Dunn passed away seven years ago.

“She was a lovely lady,” Hise said. “We used to have tea together. She was a true genteel lady.”

Dr. Goldsby King, Dunn’s husband, founded Selma’s first private hospital, King Sanitarium, on Dec. 6, 1896.

The location at 515 Mabry St. was renamed King Memorial Hospital after his death. The building is now home to the Circle of Love Center, a ministry of Ellwood Community Church.

“We’re delighted she was able to do that for us and bring us that information,” said Dorothy Lippert, tour guide at the museum. “It makes it more self-explanatory.”

Visitors would ask for more information about the hospital on tours, and Lippert did not have enough history on the building to fully respond.

“We are tickled to death because now we can give better information to our tourists,” Lippert said.