The Watkins Museum
Taylorsville, Mississippi (Smith County)
Owned by the town of Taylorsville, the Watkins Museum building is a Mississippi Landmark. The museum serves as a monument to early life in Taylorsville and the history of Mississippi journalism, as the site is the former office of the Taylorsville Signal. Constructed in 1901, it served as a newspaper office well into the 1960s and, today, still houses the 19th century presses and newspaper artifacts used to produce the Signal. Since 1972, the building has been utilized as a museum with the Taylorsville Historical Society at the helm of its preservation efforts. When listed on Mississippi 10 Most Endangered Places in 2001, the building, which is one of the few wooden structures to survive the fires that ravaged Taylorsville in the early 20th century, was threatened by deterioration to the foundation and sills, as well as a lack of funds to address the problems.
2017 Update – SAVED
In December 2002, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History awarded a $120,000 Mississippi Landmark Grant to the Watkins Museum, for exterior and interior repairs to the building. After repairs were made, Hurricane Katrina damaged the building, causing it to lean to one side. The city of Taylorsville has once again restored the building.
The Watkins Museum displays old printing equipment using brass type, wooden type, cooper plates advertising victrolas, early model refrigerators, patent medicines, and buckets of ink. Merchandise from the General Store is also showcased, including an assortment of high-buttoned shoes, lace-up boots, ladies hats, baby ointment, copies of vintage magazines, sheet music, caned and cowhide-bottomed chairs and a spinning wheel.