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Ayden museum building brick walkway


The bricks are displayed outside of the museum at 436 Second St. around a bench donated by the Ayden Rotary Club.


By Amber Revels-Stocks
The Times-Leader

Sunday, December 30, 2018

AYDEN — The Ayden Historical and Arts Society is selling memorial bricks to raise funds for its museum.

The museum, located in the Dixon Medical Building at 436 Second St., held its first open house in late November. It already features an exhibit on Dr. Grady Dixon and his son, Dr. Elliot Dixon, but the museum wants to expand its offerings.

They need help from Ayden’s citizens to do so, according to president Andrea Norris.

“We’ve been (selling bricks) for about a year and a half. We have 80 bricks already in place out there that we’ve sold,” she said. “This is our major fundraiser. We have about 15 or 20 more that have been purchased, and when they get here, we’ll put them in place.”

Most of the bricks are in honor of someone, while others serve as shout outs to classmates or club members. The bricks are available in two sizes. The 4-inch by 8-inch brick can hold up to three lines of text and cost $100. The 8-inch by 8-inch bricks can hold up to six lines of text and cost $150.

“These are major bricks,” said Phillip Barth. “These will be around way after we’re done.”

The bricks are installed at the entrance to the museum near a bench donated by the Ayden Rotary Club. The society hopes to have the area between the sidewalk and the museum walls filled with bricks, Norris said.

“The town has been amazing,” Norris said. “They’ve let us have this building; they constructed the ramp. If I need anything, I call the town and they help us. They’ve been fantastic; they do so much for us, but we want to pay our own way.”

Money from the first 80 bricks sold have gone to fund exhibits, including the museum’s first art exhibit.

“We have works from local artists. Some of them grew up here and then moved. Others are people who still live here,” Norris said. “All of the work either shows places from around Ayden or is from people who live here.”

The fundraiser has also enabled the society to purchase display cases, bookcases and a new computer.

“We’re developing a feature exhibit around Ayden’s ace, Sammy Pierce, and other military members,” Norris said. “We’ve used the money to buy a torso and hanger to display the uniform. We’ve bought a display cabinet for artifacts.”

The society tries to be frugal but any startup requires money. Every item in the museum has to be given an asset tag and placed within the museum catalog. The program to do this and the computer were bought using the funds raised by brick sales.

The Ayden Museum is working on a few exhibits at the moment, including an exhibit about education in Ayden.

“I did a book club presentation last week, and one girl said, ‘Gosh, my husband’s grandmother is in that (yearbook).’ She found her name — that means a lot,” Norris said. “Eventually, when we get really established, we want to have a library for people to come in and enjoy. So they can find that connection to the past.”

That connection to the past is something the museum hopes to keep alive.

“We’d love to have more stuff about education in Ayden, especially South Ayden High School and Ayden High School,” Dale Cockrell said.

Barth added, “We’d love to have something like an old cheerleading uniform or parade regalia from South Ayden.”

Cockrell would love to have stories from people as well.

“That’s one of the things we can highlight here is those stories so they don’t get lost,” he said. “As people get older, a lot of those stories get lost. They can write them down, or we may be able to do something with oral histories. … If they have photos, we can also use those in our slideshow or online.”

The museum also is working on exhibits on barbeque, sports and Ayden military history.

If anyone has artifacts to donate or loan to the museum, call Norris at 746-4209.

To purchase a brick, contact a member of the historical and arts society for a form or stop by The Times-Leader office, 574 Third St., Ayden.

For more information about the Ayden Historical and Arts Society, visit aydenhistoricalandartssociety.com. Also, like “The Ayden Museum” on Facebook.