Ohr-O'Keefe Museum - Biloxi, Mississippi - Museum of Art


Ohr-O'Keefe Museum is temporarily located at Glenn Swetman Street in Biloxi, Mississippi. The original home of the museum in George E. Ohr Cultural Center was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and a new campus is under construction in Beach Boulevard. The gallery is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 4pm on Sunday.

The museum opened to the public in 1994 and is a celebration of George Ohr a highly regarded potter from Mississippi, who lived from 1857 to 1918. Ohr worked with Mississippi clay, which went against the conventional form of pottery and art during that time and his work had a huge influence on 20th and 21st century art. He declared himself as the "Mad Potter of Biloxi'' and often predicted that his genius would be recognized years after his death.

There are various exhibits held here including the George E. Ohr collection, which includes over 150 ceramics produced between 1882 and 1910 such as the Monumental Urn and Petticoat Vase. Visitors will also be able to see archives of original papers, photos and documents relating to Ohr's life and work. Another exhibit here is the arts and crafts pottery collection with 38 works from Manuel Jalanivich , Joseph Fortune Meyer and H. Sophie Newcomb College.

The Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center, which is a reconstruction of an original house built by Pleasant Reed in the late 19th century is located here too. Reed was an African American slave who brought his family to Biloxi after the Civil War to give them a better life. He built the house with funds earned in the post war economy. The house recreates the story of Pleasant Reed and his family, following how African Americans had to adapt to life away from slavery, and tours are available by appointment.

Tours can be arranged for children and adults with school tours available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 3pm. All tours must be booked with the museum at least three weeks in advance. Various education programs are organized here including summer camps for children, whilst art and other workshops are regularly held for adults.

Large donations have been made to the museum by Jerry O'Keefe and his family, helping to bring the vision to reality. The museum was eventually renamed Ohr-O'Keefe in honor of Annette O'Keefe, Jerry's wife as a thanks for the family's ongoing contributions. The museum has its own shop selling many different items such as jewelry, posters, books and of course pottery.

There are a number of hotels to stay at nearby including Star Inn, Edgewater Inn and Hampton Inn, which are both within three kilometers of the museum. Visitors looking for something to eat will find various eateries fairly close by such as Mr. Greek, which is less than one kilometer away or Burger Burger in Howard Avenue and El Rancho Bar & Grill in Pass Road. Other attractions in Biloxi include Beauvoir, which is a grand plantation home or Treasure Bay Casino, which is approximately two and a half kilometers from the current museum site.

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